Suicide rate reaches 10-year high

KEEPING an eye out for signs of struggle in friends and family is more important than ever, with Australia's suicide rate reaching a 10-year high.

According to a report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the national suicide rate increased by 9.1 per cent over the previous year as 3128 people took their own lives in 2017.

Last year's rate of 12.6 deaths per 100,000 is equal to the highest recorded rate in the past decade, which was set in 2015.

This exceeds the World Health Organisation's global average suicide mortality rate by 2.1 per cent.

Queensland reported the largest increase in the country, with 804 deaths last year compared with 674 in 2016.

Not-for-profit organisation Lives Lived Well has facilitated the Beyondblue mental health program NewAccess in Gatton for the past three months.

Lives Lived Well southwest Queensland clinical services manager James Curtain said they were seeing positive steps taken by people who had never before accessed help in their lives.

"For the people that are accessing the program, we're getting about a 70 per cent success rate we call it, which is in terms of the goals that people are setting," he said.

"The trend that we're seeing is people who wouldn't normally access any sort of support services are starting to engage with this one. There generally hasn't been a service like this (in the region).

"The intention is to pick up these people and gave them an opportunity to access this before the problems worsen to a point where things might seem overwhelming ... it might be trouble sleeping, stress at work or relationship problems that are causing a bit of anxiety that they can't resolve themselves."

Mr Curtain said it was important to go beyond just asking if a friend or family member was OK if you noticed a change in their personality.

Asking if they needed extra support or seeking advice on how to better engage them could prove crucial.

No GP referral for NewAccess is needed and it is open to anyone aged 18 and over.

Visit the Lives Lived Well website or phone 1300 971 309 for more information on the NewAccess program.

If or you or someone you love is in crisis or needs support, help is available.


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