An increase in the number of people who took their own lives in 2014, as revealed in new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, is evidence that further funding and support is needed to tackle the crisis.

The ABS’ annual Causes of Death report reveals that 2,861 people died by intentional self-harm in 2014, up from 2,568 people in 2013. The suicide rate also increased to 12 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014, the highest recorded in the past decade.

“What today’s report demonstrates is that despite mental health and suicide becoming less taboo topics in society, we still have a long way to go in reaching people who feel disconnected,” says Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards.

Since 2004, Jesuit Social Services has operated Support After Suicide, which provides support and resources including counselling, group support and an online community for people bereaved by the suicide of a loved one.

“Researchers have previously found that people bereaved by the suicide of a loved one are 65 per cent more likely to attempt suicide, so we know that providing effective postvention support can help to prevent further suicides,” Ms Edwards says.

Support After Suicide is Federally funded under the National Suicide Prevention Strategy until June 30, after which a change in funding arrangements means monies will be distributed by local Primary Health Networks.

“We are confident that despite the shift in funding arrangements, the value and success of a program like Support After Suicide will be recognised.

“Jesuit Social Services remains committed to working with people impacted by suicide to help them to navigate the difficult days, weeks and months following a tragic event. We know that a crucial way to reduce the country’s suicide rate is to ensure those left behind after a suicide are supported through their grief and trauma and Support After Suicide is highly equipped to do this.”

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