’Remarkable’ trend in COVID reveals reason to celebrate
Despite this being one hell of a year, a trend has revealed a reason to celebrate this week.
The NSW Government released data on Tuesday showing a 5 per cent decrease in the number of lives lost to suicide between November 2019 and November 2020.
Lifeline Australia Chairman John Brogden said this is the most significant reduction in lives lost to suicide in 10 years.
Mr Brogden said there were 853 lives lost to suicide in the 12 months to November 2019 and 807 lives lost in the 12 months to November 2020 – a reduction in 46 lives.
He said this is a welcome decline as the organisation’s calls have increased by 20 per cent across the past year as the service supported bushfire affected communities and all Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s no doubt people who would not have ordinarily called us, have called us for the first time,” he said.
“It’s now OK to say you're not OK, you don’t have to suffer in silence.”
Mr Brogden said this 5 per cent drop “are the most remarkable figures of the COVID- 19 pandemic”.
“This is a moment to celebrate life, hundreds of thousands of Australians have reached out for help to Lifeline and other mental health services and got the help they needed when they needed it and stopped short of suicide,” he said.
“But thousands of people around the country are still taking their lives each year and this is no cause for celebration.”
Mr Brogden hopes this is a turning point for mental health in Australia.
“People in need of help have been brave enough to get it during one of the most difficult times in memory,” he said.
“Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy and our thoughts are with those who have lost a loved one this year.”
Mr Brogden said communities need to encourage Australians to keep connecting with each other especially over the holiday period.
“If you think someone may be struggling, please continue to reach out to them to offer support,” he said.
According to NSW Health data, in the year 2017 – 2018 on the Northern Rivers 53 people took their own lives.
If you need help, call Lifeline’s 24-hour telephone crisis line 13 11 14.