New Report Shows Young Aussies Who Take Their Own Life Are Largely Men

A new report has found that young Australians who have died by suicide are largely disadvantaged males who are also disengaged from work, study and mental health services.

An analysis of coronial records undertaken by Orygen researchers found that 3,365 people aged 10 to 24 took their own life from 2006 to 2015, SBS has reported. The research, which was published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday morning, found that 73% of young Australians who took their own lives during this time period had experienced mental health difficulties.

Despite this large number, two-thirds of those who died by suicide weren’t in contact with any mental health services when they died. The role mental health plays in the suicides of young people must be addressed, said the leader of Orygen’s suicide prevention research, Professor Jo Robinson.

“The fact that so many of the young people who have died by suicide had a diagnosed, or probable, mental health problem, and many had sought help for their mental health yet were not in contact with services at the time of their death, is extremely concerning,” she said.

“There are tragic consequences for missing obvious opportunities to intervene early to support and treat young people with mental health challenges.”

Professor Robinson was also concerned that given the hardship of this year and the COVID-induced recession Australia is currently in, it could fuel suicide rates among young people.

Of those who took their life during this nine-year time period, researchers found that 73.5% of those were boys or men. Roughly four in 10 weren’t engaged with work or study and were from Australia’s bottom-most socio-economic areas.

According to Nicole Hill, lead author of the study, creating easy access to mental health services is only part of a much-needed solution, which should also include engaging young people in education where possible.

“We must continue to reach young people in school settings, and identify other settings – such as tertiary education, workplaces and online – that would be suitable for suicide prevention activities,” she said.

While much needs to be done on an educational level, this is also a good reminder to check in on friends and family. This year has been a struggle, to say the least, and everyone needs support now and then.

If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also speak with someone confidentially at Headspace by calling 1800 650 890 or chat online here.

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