Suicides, Western Australia’s Sobering Statistics:

From 11.8 to 13.2 per 100,000 the only state showing a rise over 2006-2010 (National average 10.7)

At 18.5 per 100,000 Regional WA fare worst

Men were about four times more likely to die from suicide than women

Those age 25-44 most vulnerable

Suicide the number one cause of death in Australia

Western Australia is the only state in the country where the rate of suicide increased between 2006-10 compared to the previous five years, an Australian Bureau of Statistics report shows.

The rate of suicide in WA rose from 11.8 deaths per 100,000 to 13.2, taking into account factors including the raw number of suicides and the population increase.

Falls in all other states led to a national decline from 11.4 to 10.7 during the two five-year periods.

Regional WA recorded far more suicides than Perth during 2006-10, at 18.5 deaths per 100,000 compared to 12.2.

Across the state there were 2535 suicides in the 10 years to 2010.

Men were about four times more likely to die from suicide than women,  while those aged 25-44 were over represented compared to other age groups .

Lifeline national spokesman John Mendel said the five-year comparison masked the fact that in more recent years WA had recorded one of the lowest increases compared to other states.

He said the increase could be due to the rise in young men moving to the state to take part in the mining boom.

The latest Census data released last month showed men outnumbered women in WA for the first time.

“Every three in four suicides [in WA] are male and particularly young males,” Mr Mendel said.

“At the moment we’ve got a phenomenon in WA where you’ve got lots of migrants from the Eastern states, particularly young males who work in the mining industry and one of the causal effects [of suicide] is loneliness.

“This at-risk group are putting themselves in a situation where they’re isolating themselves from family and support networks. So it’s quite likely that any problems they’re experiencing that lead to suicide thoughts are likely to be manifested in that environment.”

Mr Mendel said there was no evidence to support his hypothesis and governments needed to consider funding research into the area.

 Suicide is the number one cause of death in Australia, particularly for males aged 15-54. 

It accounts for an average of 2300 deaths each year, compared to about 1500 road fatalities, according to the ABS.

“If you put that into the context of all the campaigns the government does to prevent road deaths … and think of the lack of emphasis on suicide prevention that might give you an idea of the scale of the problem,” Mr  Mendel said.

He said a significant amount of evidence suggested suicide was more preventable than a road fatality.

The WA government gave “generously” to Lifeline but more could be done to fund research, particularly into the impact of the mining industry.

Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton said WA’s increased suicide rate had led the government to established a state-wide suicide prevention strategy in 2009.

It initially focused on rural and remote areas, where the suicide rate peaked in 2006 and 2007. Since then suicide numbers in those areas had declined.

Suicide deaths in metropolitan areas peaked in 2008 and was now the government’s focus.

University of WA’s Rob Cover recently released his book, Queer Youth Suicide, Culture and Identity: Unliveable Lives?, based on research believed to be the first of its kind in a decade.

Associate Professor Cover said initiatives such as same-sex marriage and anti-bullying policies would not help to reduce suicide rates among gay youth.

“There is no clear indication that same-sex marriage will legitimise queer people in the minds of others, even if it gives a much-needed political legitimacy,” he said.

“There is greater danger in hoping that it will be a cure-all – and directing resources to this one form of legitimation falls far short of what is needed, when there are other policy and service areas that require resources.”

July 25, 2012 | by Courtney Trenwith | Original Source: watoday.com.au "WA only state to record increase in suicide rate"

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