On Tuesday, September 10, the world focuses on Suicide Prevention Day.
World Suicide Prevention Day across the globe provides a unique opportunity to collectively shine a light on suicide prevention both politically and at a community level. Harnessing this momentum is critical to ensure productive and meaningful solutions are put in place to drive suicide rates down.
With Australia experiencing a worryingly high suicide rate we must also not lose sight of the impact Domestic and Family Violence has on mental health.
Every 2-3 hrs someone in Australia dies from Suicide, that's approximately 8 people per day. For each person who dies, approximately 180 make an attempt. We hospitalise 65,000 - 70, 000 people each year for self injury. Many more people think about suicide.
6 of the 8 suicide are men. Women try to kill themselves 4 times more than men, but do not die. Men are more likely to pass away because their attempts are more violent.
In a decade our suicide rate has gone up.
The highest age-specific suicide rate in 2017 in women was observed in the 45-49 age group.
Alarmingly, for the first time, suicidal behaviours, including self - harm, have seen to increase in females b/w 15-19years of age.
One person dies every 45 seconds globally due to suicide, That’s nearly 1 million people per year.
For further statistical references:
CXBank$ moderated by Mental Health Advocate, Ingrid Ozols AM focuses on the intersection of domestic and family violence, suicide prevention and financial abuse. CXBank$ is an online community gathering to be held on World Mental Health Day, October 10. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the 2019 global theme for the day 'Suicide Prevention'.
Take for example Mary's story:
It was domestic and family violence with her partner four years ago that plunged Mary into sudden financial dire straits.
"Within a month, I went from owning my own home and having a pretty successful small business to losing the lot and being left in debt, much of it his debt or, I like to say Family Violence Transmitted Debt (FVTD) " says Mary, who lives on the Gold Coast with her three children.
It did not take long for the huge financial stress to affect her health and wellbeing.
"I became a complete insomniac," she says.
"You might leave family violence but the financial abuse you also endured follows you around for years. I've probably managed three or four nights of proper sleep over the past four years. I now have PTSD and Depression. It's difficult to muddle through a stressful financial situation and deal with the bureaucracies of banks, when you are ill and can't even remember to take your keys with you when you leave the house due to the depression. I am now not in a situation to continue with mental health treatment as I've used all my allocations available on mental health plans and can't afford to pay for it myself, so I am stuck in a cycle of poverty and unable to even get a job and I have three children to feed. I tried to claim on my income protection through the little superannuation I have and that is still being assessed by the insurer four years later! Dealing with the insurer actually makes me sicker. It's hopeless.'
Domestic and family violence can have a significant negative impact on the mental health of the victims, or other family members who witness it. Constantly feeling unsafe in your own home or with the people who are supposed to love and care for you can lead to feeling afraid, unable to relax, powerless to change the situation, or ashamed to tell others. It may result in long-term physical and psychological trauma, and affect sleep, appetite, concentration ability to retain or obtain employment or other relationships. Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual identity, economic status, ethnicity, and religion. But it predominantly affects women, and it is considered to be one of the major risk factors affecting women’s health in Australia, resulting in anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Children are often the forgotten victims of family violence, and the long-term impacts on their mental health are only just beginning to be understood. Children who have grown up in a family with domestic violence have a higher risk of anxiety, depression, learning difficulties, relationship problems, and alcohol and drug misuse. They may also be more likely to become perpetrators or victims of domestic and family violence as adults.
About Ingrid Ozols AM
Ingrid Ozols, Senior Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Melbourne University, 2017 outstanding alumnus for the Australian institute of Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) at Griffith University, is also a 2016 Australian Human Rights Medal finalist, and an active workplace, and community, mental health and suicide prevention advocate, educator and peer supporter of more than 19 years, having been one of the original starters of what is now sadly an industry, and why mental health, suicide prevention and peer support is being talked about far more comfortably.
Ingrid is the founder and managing director of Mental Health at Work (mh@work®) a consultancy aimed at improving workplace understanding of mental health, suicide prevention, resilience and creating supportive cultures. Through storytelling the lived experience of surviving her own suicide attempts and others, this organisation role-models, hope, possibilities through vulnerability, compassion and the power of social inclusion to everyone’s health and wellbeing.
She contributes to mental health policy reform in Australia, being the inaugural chair of beyondblue’s Consumer and Carer Lived Experience Network in 2001 and BDI’S CRESP Consumer and Carer Lived Experience Network for Research. Participating as a member of many national mental health and suicide prevention boards, committees, government advisory, university and research groups, and more recently, providing lived experience advice in digital mental health services.
Ingrid travels the country and internationally speaking (and chairing) many conferences and workshops. Having appeared widely in Australian media and radio Ingrid shares her own journey of mental illness, being a suicide attempt survivor and recovery. For Ingrid, wellbeing and selfcare must become much more than a word, it's a daily action for each and everyone of us. Here's some tips from Beyond Blue to get you started.
If you or anyone you know needs help:
Sane Australia 1800 187263 Sane.org
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890