Suicide the second biggest killer of those 15 to 29: report

MORE ACTION is needed to stem the tide of suicide in Australia, a mental health expert has urged, after an international report found some 800,000 people commit suicide every year around the world.

The World Health Organisation first report on suicide found suicide was now the second most common cause of death in 15 to 29 years olds globally.

It also found suicide accounted for about half of all recorded violent deaths in men and about 70% of violent deaths among women.

The report has prompted the director of the Black Dog Institute, Professor Helen Christensen, to call for more action on suicide in Australia.

Prof Christensen said despite increasing funding being given to suicide prevention, it was not resulting in fewer suicides.

She said despite suicide killing more Australians than car accidents, there was still not enough money for "the scale of the problem".

"Secondly, we believe it's because the funding has been allocated in a piecemeal fashion with no central focus and no research evidence to determine what works and what doesn't," she said.

"Put simply, in Australia we don't implement suicide prevention strategies until a person is in crisis. Obviously this is necessary but in the long term we need to break this cycle much earlier."

The problem is worse in rural and regional areas, particularly among young men, according to a 2012 study by Griffith University.

It found male suicide rates were "significantly higher" among young rural men than their city counterparts.

Data from the Queensland Suicide Register showed between 2005 and 2007, male suicide rates were more than 36 deaths per 100,000 Queenslanders in rural areas, compared with just over 18 per 100,000 in "non-remote areas".

Prof Christensen said the evidence globally showed if Australia was going to reduce suicide rates, it would need to reduce access to lethal means, train GPs better to identify risk factors and help schools deal with the problem.

But, rather than reducing access to lethal means of suicide, in some instances, politicians are looking to help people end their lives.

The Greens Senator Richard Di Natale has a bill before Federal Parliament to allow assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

While the bill has failed to gain wider political traction, fellow crossbencher Democratic Liberal Senator David Leyonhjelm, has backed The Greens's move.

Senator Leyonhjelm on Friday wrote in the Financial Review that there was "no more fundamental indication of individual freedom than the ability to decide what to do with our own body".

"If we are too weak or incapacitated to end our lives ourselves, we are condemned to suffer until nature takes its course," he wrote.

"It is a serious offence for anyone to either help us die, at our instruction, or even to tell us how to do it for ourselves."

Senator Leyonhjelm wrote that if the Greens's "dying with dignity bill" was defeated, he would take up the cause and "pursue other avenues" to make assisted suicide legal. - APN NEWSDESKNEED HELP?

If you or someone you know are suffering from mental health issues, there are places to go:

Call Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyond blue on 1300 22 4636, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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