Suicide Prevention Australia releases the 2023 State of the Nation Report

Posted 20th September 2023 in Sector news

Insufficient numbers of GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists, coupled with the rising costs of living impacting the employment of skilled mental health staff, are some of the key concerns of the suicide prevention sector. These concerns are highlighted in the newly released State of the Nation in Suicide Prevention 2023 report by Suicide Prevention Australia.

The report by Suicide Prevention Australia (released 7th September 2023) is informed by data obtained from a sector-wide survey, capturing the thoughts and concerns of those who work directly and indirectly in suicide prevention, including organisations, individuals, and other stakeholders.

Nieves Murray, CEO of Suicide Prevention Australia, says of the report,

“We cannot manage what we do not measure, and thus Suicide Prevention Australia is pleased to present the fourth iteration of the State of the Nation in Suicide Prevention report. It provides an annual snapshot of the suicide prevention sector, the state of the community and progress on our national policy platform.”

The report examines the current state of suicide prevention in Australia across three areas:

  • Sector priorities and operations
  • Existing and emerging community risks
  • Progression towards a whole of government, sector and community approach to suicide prevention.

Survey respondents showed that they are concerned with an increase in service demand and the ability to meet the demand, with 81% reporting a need for additional funding, support, or resources. Respondents also expressed concern about relying on government grants to deliver services or suicide prevention work.

Exploring broader community concerns, increased suicide rates due to economic factors such as cost of living, debt, unaffordable housing and unemployment were also expressed as a worry.

The top three concerns reported that may increase suicide risk in communities were:

1. Cost of living and personal debt

2. Housing access and affordability

3. Social isolation and loneliness.

75% of survey respondents felt that programs and services targeted to priority populations at risk of suicide are not appropriately funded, resourced or responded to.

To reduce the risk of suicide, 92% of respondents highlighted a whole of government approach and the creation of a Suicide Prevention Act for Australia as a need.

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