Chris Bowen calls for 'real action' to prevent suicide

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Shadow health minister Chris Bowen says "real action is needed urgently" following the release of new statistics on suicide.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics report shows 3,046 intentional self-harm deaths occurred in 2018, making it the fourteenth highest cause of death in Australia - 709 additional deaths by suicide in 2018 compared to 2009. 

Figures also confirm the death rate from suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is double the national rate.

Mr Bowen said Labor agrees with the government that one life lost to suicide is one too many.
"And we believe real action is needed urgently," he said.

"Only last month, Suicide Prevention Australia released a report forecasting a 40 per cent growth in suicide numbers over the next 10 years without better prevention and earlier intervention.

"The report called for an integrated approach to suicide prevention encompassing mental health, social, economic and community factors. We must take this call to action seriously," said Mr Bowen.

The shadow minister said the government "will have full support from Labor on their commitment to suicide prevention including through the Productivity Commission’s inquiry and a new National Suicide Prevention Advisor within Prime Minister and Cabinet".

"But meaningful action is needed now," he said. "These numbers should be a further call for the Government to address this crisis.