THE Australian Bureau of Statistics released its 2016 Causes of Death data last week, ahead of Mental Health Month in October, which includes annual national suicide information.
The results were positive, showing the number of Australians dying by suicide has decreased (2866 people took their own lives in 2016, compared with 3027 people in 2015).
The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health’s director Professor David Perkins said while overall rates were down, the rate of suicide among those who live outside the greater capital cities is higher than that for residents who live in cities.
"We still have work to do to address the mental health of rural and remote communities,” Profesor Perkins said.
"Suicide is mostly preventable and an important issue that we all need to engage with.”
To help prevent suicide, people with mental ill health are encouraged to stay connected with family and friends.
More people experience loneliness in Australia than ever before, according to mental health support organisation WayAhead.
For those experiencing or living with mental illness, loneliness can be far worse as individuals can face social exclusion, stigma and discrimination.
As social beings, this can affect all aspects of our wellbeing.
This week’s Friday Forum at www.theland.com.au at noon on Friday is themed Social Connectedness.
Connecting with others is important for our health and survival.
Research tells us that feeling connected, valued and loved by others gives us a sense of security, support, purpose and happiness.
Close connections and good relationships with others allows us to enjoy the good times in our lives and help us deal with the challenges we face.
The forum’s expert panel will be online and ready to answer your questions about issues, including:
- The importance of social connectedness and combatting loneliness
- Reconnecting with the community – volunteering, joining groups, social groups
- Building social confidence, coping with social situations
- Being less critical of yourself and others
- Where to seek help and help others, and
- Staying mentally healthy.
On the panel are Ian Firth, SafeWork NSW; Liz Priestley, WayAhead Mental Health Association; Kim O’Neill, On The Line counselling service, and Katherine Newton, RU OK?