Rural suicide causes enormous distress to individuals, families, workplaces, and communities and needs to be addressed seriously. We would like to start by expressing our sympathy to all whose lives have been touched by the suicide of a family member, friend or acquaintance.
In 2016, the number of suicides per 100,000 people in rural and remote Australia was 50% higher than in the cities. This rate gets higher as areas become more remote and has been growing more rapidly than in the cities. The rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is twice that for non-Indigenous people.
The CRRMH believes that five focus areas are needed to address this situation. Two are for immediate action to prevent suicide deaths (now and into the future) and three are designed to prevent deaths in the future.
The prevention of rural suicide is not the sole responsibility of health services or of mental health services. There are important roles for governments, private sector, health and welfare institutions, rural and remote communities, and individuals.