Tuesday, 10 September 2013

World Suicide Prevention Day - are you okay?

The 10th of September is World Suicide Prevention Day. Are you okay? was the slogan for Suicide Prevention Day a year back. This year Suicide prevention Australia is asking people to support their push to halve suicides in Australia by 2023 - a worthy project for which they need your support.

You can sign up to their petition for government assistance at their website

Quick facts about suicide in Australia (from their website)


• Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44 yrs

• Suicide is the leading cause of death for women under the age of 34 yrs

• The population death rates are around 10/100,000 people every year

• Annual number of deaths by suicide has changed little over the last two decades remaining plateaued at around 2,300 each year

• 65,000 plan or attempt to take their life each year

• 400,000 people think about taking their life each year


This is a serious matter. If you or anyone you know is at risk of suicide you can call these numbers for assistance.

The contrary case was put on Radio Station 3AW today when Neil Mitchell interviewed Philip Nitschke.

From the station's online blog:

Neil Mitchell replied: "So you would say that anybody that wants to end their life should be able to?"
“Yeah, I would say that. We’re talking about adult people, not about children," Dr Nitschke said.
“We’ve got to be talking about people who can understand, in other words they’ve got to be of sound mind … if they are of sound mind and adults… they should have the option of getting access to the best drugs so they can take the step if they so desire for whatever reason.
“You can’t come along and say ‘oh I’ll accept it if you’re terminally ill, but if you’ve got some other reason for wanting to die, I’m sorry that doesn’t fit my criteria’.
Neil Mitchell: “Wouldn’t you try and argue them out of it?”.
“Of course you do, but at a point you’ve got to accept that if they come to you and come to you … they are the ones who should then be given the information they want,” Dr Nitschke said.
Indeed, but what is that point and who decides? Who determines the criteria?
How can we, on the one hand, stand shoulder-to-shoulder (as we should) in trying to prevent suicide when in our midst is someone who not only helps people access the means to kill themselves, but also acts as the gatekeeper?
It's high time that the fantastic organisations around Australia that work so hard to stop suicide stand up to this reckless behaviour. Silence creates a double standard.
We can and should ask our friends and family if they're okay, but we also need to stand up and say that what Nitschke and his organisation are doing is NOT okay!

NB: Correction - RU OKAY? DAY is September 12th and is a separate Suicide Prevention Initiative - details can be found HERE.


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