Page 1465 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 28 March 2012

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MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (5.22): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) that suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44 and women under the age of 34 in Australia;

(b) the number of suicides is likely to be under reported;

(c) suicide is a mostly preventable cause of death;

(d) it is important to break down stigma associated with suicide in the community, without sensationalising or normalising it; and

(e) recommendations from the Senate Community Affairs References Committee report The Hidden Toll: Suicide in Australia of June 2010 included that:

(i) the commonwealth government as part of a national strategy with state, territory and local governments for suicide prevention set an aspirational target for the reduction of suicide by the year 2020; and

(ii) national figures on suicide should be released to the Australian public, at a minimum, biannually, in an effort to raise community awareness about suicide, and should be provided together with information about available services and support; and

(2) calls on the Minister for Health to:

(a) set a target for the reduction of suicide in the ACT by the year 2020; and

(b) make a statement to the Assembly biannually until the end of 2020 on the ACT figures on suicide, progress against the target, and information about available services and support.

Today I wish to draw the Assembly’s attention to an issue where there have been calls for far greater attention and community discussion—that being the number of people in the ACT who lose their lives to suicide. In 2009 the Senate community affairs committee conducted an inquiry into suicide in Australia and released a report, The hidden toll: suicide in Australia. The title of that report captures the essence of how we as a society ineffectively respond to issues around suicide as we hide from it, we avoid it and we are scared to talk about it. Such an approach does little to help those people who desperately need the support of the community as they confront the issue.

Not addressing the issue publicly or allowing the community to talk about it openly does nothing to address the stigma that is associated with suicide. This also makes it

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