27 September 2019

Media Statement

NSW Mental Health Commissioner has called for more to be done to curb suicide rates in NSW following the release of a new Australian Bureau of Statistics report.

NSW was the only state to record an increase in number of suicides from 880 in 2017 to 899 in 2018, according to the 2018 Causes of Death, Australia report

The standardised death rate has also risen to 11.1 per 100,000 people. All other states recorded a decrease. 

NSW Mental Health Commissioner, Catherine Lourey said the Commission has been working closely with government agencies to promote a coordinated response to reducing suicide rates. 

“About 17 people lose their lives to suicide each week in NSW, causing lasting distress for their loved ones, friends, colleagues and communities,” Ms Lourey said. It is just unacceptable that the number of lives lost to suicide have increased. 

Suicide rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW have decreased slightly from 20.1 per 100,000 people in 2017 to 19.6 in 2018, and is also the lowest rate compared to any other jurisdiction. This trajectory is pleasing however we have much more work to do to reduce the rate of Aboriginal suicide in NSW.

“Suicide prevention is a focal point of government from a policy and prevention perspective. Equally, it’s a focal point for families and communities.

“When listening to people across NSW I hear the same message – communities want safe spaces for people to go when they are most distressed, somewhere they can feel safe, heard and supported.

“In 2018, the NSW Government launched the Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention in NSW 2018-2023 in a bid to reduce suicide rates in this state.

“The NSW Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention sets out how individuals, communities, organisations, the private sector and government can work together to ensure fewer of us in NSW are impacted by suicide.

“Compassionate responses to people when they are in acute distress are essential, busy emergency departments are not the environments that people say they need. They want safe community places to go, and warm and experienced supports when they need it, open round the clock …. after all, every life matters,” says Ms Lourey.


Media enquiries:

Pauline Sorbello

Pauline.sorbello@mhc.nsw.gov.au | P: 02 9859 5228 | M: 0414 894 341

About the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales
The Mental Health Commission of NSW was established under the Mental Health Commission Act 2012 and came into operation on 1 July 2012. The Commission is an independent statutory agency responsible for monitoring, reviewing and improving mental health and wellbeing for people in NSW. The Commission works with government and the
community to secure better mental health and wellbeing for everyone, and to ensure the availability of appropriate supports in or close to home when people are unwell or at risk of becoming unwell. In all its work, the Commission is guided by the lived experience of people with lived experience of mental health issues and caring, their families and kinship groups.

Support services
If this story raises concerns or distress for you or someone you know, the following services are available to provide support and assistance:
NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

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Last updated: 27 September 2019