Urgent action needed to prevent more suicides: Greens

Greens spokesperson for suicide prevention and mental health the Hon Alison Xamon MLC has today called for urgent action to address the acute mental health issues, self-harm, and suicidal behaviour driving alarmingly high numbers of callouts to ambulances following the release of new research commissioned by Beyond Blue and Movember.

Ms Xamon said the Beyond the Emergency report found that suicide behaviour among men could be three times higher than what was previously understood.  Current hospital data systems allow clinicians to only record one primary reason for a presentation and this has the effect of not accurately reflecting the complexity of how the patient came to be there.

“Further, the research released today also shows the rates of re-presentations. A shocking 42% of attendances were to men re-presenting to ambulance services, with 7.4% re-presenting 10 times or more.

“This clearly shows that the system isn’t working. These men are presenting time and time again, yet we are doing nothing to resolve the underlying reasons for their distress,” she said.

“Paramedics are also being failed. We must not lose sight of the toll their job takes on them. 

“Suicide rates among first responders are unacceptably high.  They work in incredibly challenging environments and they must be properly supported to do their work.

“While the research does not include Western Australian data there is no reason to suggest that the situation is any different here, particularly when we know that WA has the third highest suicide rate in the country” Ms Xamon said. 

“This is an incredibly sobering but important body of work.  It gives us insight in to the scale and nature of the mental health crisis in Australia.

“The evidence is beyond compelling, it is clear that successive governments have failed to step up and turn around the increasing numbers of people dying by suicide across our country and in our state.

“It is time for action.  We know what we need to do in WA.  We have a widely endorsed 10 year mental health and other drugs plan that outlines the steps we need to take. 

“We’ve got the road map and now the Government must commit to greater investment in following the directions laid out – we can’t afford not to.