Feature Article - Youth suicide in Tasmania
Contributed by Judith Nguyen, Department of Community and Health Services
Tasmania has been reported as having one of the highest suicide rates in the country.
The figures for Tasmania are too small to reliably calculate rates, or to break down into sub-groups such as non-English speaking background, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Two facts that consistently stand out however, are that between three and four times as many males as females complete suicide, and that males are at greatest risk between school leaving age and early middle age.
In Tasmania, the Mental Health Program of the Department of Community and Health Services monitors the incidence of suicide, and coordinates an interdepartmental response through the Suicide Register Steering Committee (SRSC). This committee will also liaise with regional groups concerned with reducing youth suicide and is chaired by the State Program Coordinator, Mental Health.
The Chair of this committee and a representative from the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania are also member of the Federal Health Minister’s Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Group (YSPAG).
This group is responsible for providing advice to the Federal Government’s Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy. This strategy will run until June 1999. The strategy has allocated $31 million to activities addressing youth suicide prevention. From this amount, Tasmania will receive:
- $270,000 to enhance telephone counselling services to rural and regional youth over a three year period.
- $100,000 to educate and train professionals in youth suicide prevention in Tasmania over two years.
- $14,000 over two years to provide input into a National Stocktake of activities relating to information sharing, data collection, co-ordination and evaluation, which up to now, have not been addressed in a strategic way.
SUICIDE BY SELECTED AGE GROUPS, Tasmania(a)
- nil or rounded to zero
(a) There is occasionally variance between the figures presented here and figures found in other ABS publications. This occurs because the ABS needs to collect figures before all Coronial inquiries have been completed. This table is a summary of Coroner’s verdicts of suicide.
Source: Department of Community and Health Services.