ALCOHOL was in the bloodstream of almost 500 people who died by suicide during the past year, new data shows.
Last year, 3128 people died by suicide, data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday reveals.
The rate was a 10-year high and the equivalent of 8.6 deaths by suicide in Australia every day.
Of those who died, 75 per cent (2348 people) were male, with 45-49 year olds making up the highest proportion.
Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Stephanie Robinson is not only the face of the charity across the region, but has taken countless crisis calls for help on the charity’s 13 11 14 number.
“I’m saddened … I was hoping it might show a different story,” she said of the data.
Ms Robinson said a briefing with the ABS following the release of the data revealed some of the shocking reasons behind the suicides.
It’s really a lot of heartbreak. They say at least 150 people are impacted by just one suicide.Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Stephanie Robinson
“Of the people who suicided 43 per cent (1345 people) had depression; 29.5 per cent (922 people) had alcohol and drug issues; 17.5 per cent (547 people) had anxiety; and 14.9 per cent (466 people) had alcohol in their bloodstream at the time,” she said.
“It’s really a lot of heartbreak. They say at least 150 people are impacted by just one suicide.”
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The ABS briefing also stated that regional urban areas experienced the highest increase in number of suicides.
“Males aren’t particularly good when they’re depressed and stressed,” Ms Robinson said.
“They’re not as emotionally expressive as women, they don’t seek help and they tend to hold those emotions in.
“They don’t seek help for their physical stuff or their mental health.”
Ms Robinson said it was a very concerning trend that the number of suicides had jumped 9.1 per cent – from 2866 deaths in 2016, to 3128 in 2017 – the equivalent of an additional 262 deaths.
She feared the ongoing drought across NSW and other parts of the country was having an impact on the mental health and subsequent suicide statistics.
“I’m just more determined to do what I do and it validates that more needs to be done,” she said.
- Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for help in a crisis.