Politics with Michelle Grattan

PM’s advisor Christine Morgan on tackling Australia’s rising suicide rates

August 26, 2019

The number of suicides in Australia has been rising in the last decade, with more than 3,000 Australians taking their life in 2017, according to the latest available ABS figures. Some of the most vulnerable groups include Indigenous Australians, young Australians, unemployed people, and veterans.

Scott Morrison has declared this a key priority area for the government. He has appointed Christine Morgan, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, as the national suicide prevention advisor to the prime minister.

On this episode, Christine Morgan speaks with Michelle Grattan about the issue - what we know so far, and what needs more clarity. She stresses the role of communities in tackling the rising rates, and also argues for a more holistic view - beyond narrow mental health problems - of the factors that drive people to contemplate taking their own lives.

"Yes, it may be that they’re suffering from a mental health condition. Yes, they may be suffering from a health condition. But they may also be being affected by other things which significantly impact, like what is their housing security?[…]What is their employment situation? what is their financial situation? Have they come from a background of trauma?"

Anyone seeking support and information about suicide can contact Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Additional audio:

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.



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