18 June 2016

A Shorten Labor Government will target a 50 per cent reduction in suicides over the next 10 years.

Labor’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy will provide a strong national commitment to reduce the suicide toll, and coordinate a focused effort across Australia.

Suicide affects far too many Australians. In 2014, 2,864 Australians lost their lives to suicide. Approximately seven Australians die from suicide every day, and for every person who dies from suicide, 30 attempt it. We have to do better than this.

Too many families, friends and colleagues are left dealing with these traumatic losses. There are too many kids in this country who have taken days off school to go the funeral of a classmate who has taken their own life. There are too many parents who have had to sit at their kitchen table, shattered, exhausted and grieving, trying to write a eulogy for their own child.

Australia must do more, and under Labor, we will.

A Shorten Labor Government will commission Australia’s first national data-set of suicide deaths and work with the States and Territories to establish a national suicide register, helping experts identify vulnerable groups in our community.

A Shorten Labor Government will provide $72 million over three years for 12 regional suicide pilot projects. These projects will be in places with higher-than-average rates of suicide deaths, using a whole of community response to reduce suicide deaths in the most effective way.

Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death for Indigenous Australians. Labor will take action to reduce suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by working with communities to implement the recommendations of the University of Western Sydney's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project. Labor will also ensure that at least three of the regional suicide pilot projects are in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

A Shorten Labor Government will provide $9 million towards a National Suicide Prevention Fund. The Fund will support research into reducing suicide deaths, and programs which reduce the stigma around suicide and seeking help when contemplating suicide.

Labor has a proud record of investing in mental health. In Government Labor reversed a decade of Liberal neglect by increasing funding for mental health programs by over 350 percent.

In contrast to the Turnbull Government, Labor’s Strategy will provide national leadership, and builds on our commitment to:

  • Restore funding cut by the Liberals to six early psychosis centres, supporting young people with serious mental health problems.
  • Provide funding so more than 95 headspace centres around the country can stay open.
  • Lead the negotiation to develop the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.
  • Deliver regionally tailored mental health programs through existing Primary Health Networks.
  • Make sure people living with a mental illness continue to receive the support and care they need when they are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
  • Promote the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance to support better mental health at work and remove the stigma and discrimination that all too often accompanies mental ill health.

Labor’s reforms will deliver $83.7 million over four years to provide national leadership on an issue that impacts on far too many in our community.

For more information on Labor’s plan, please visit:

**For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit Other services include Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 **

SUNDAY, 19 JUNE 2016