Uni supports World Suicide Prevention Day

Monday, 30 August 2004

The University of Adelaide's Department of General Practice will play its part on September 10 when World Suicide Prevention Day is honoured around the world.

According to Dr Sheila Clark, a Senior Lecturer in the University's Department of General Practice and the Australian Representative for the International Association for Suicide Prevention, several events are taking place around this date particularly to increase awareness of people bereaved through suicide.

"The August edition of Good Medicine magazine features an article 'Without Saying Goodbye' in which people who have lost a loved one to suicide tell of their own experiences and how they have come through such a devastating trauma," says Dr Clark, who recently attended the Annual Planning Forum of the National Advisory Council on Suicide Prevention.

In South Australia, a DVD titled Reaching Out - relating stories of bereaved persons - will be released. It was produced by the Adelaide-based Bereaved Through Suicide Support Group in conjunction with the Department of General Practice at the University of Adelaide.

"It will be screened at the Belgian Suicide Survivors' Day later this year and will be launched in Adelaide at a public forum on Tuesday, November 9 at 7.00pm, at Rosefield Uniting Church, 2 Carlton Street, Highgate.

"Mr Karl Andriessen, former Director of the Flemish Suicide Prevention Centre in Belgium and currently Chair of Postvention Taskforce of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, will take up the theme 'Messages of Hope: Insight into the lives of the bereaved'," Dr Clark says.

Dr Clark will address a public meeting for those bereaved through suicide on Wednesday, September 1 at 12:00 midday at Enfield Uniting Church, 1 Park Street, Enfield.

Meanwhile, Dr Clark says research aimed at improving the support for people bereaved through suicide, and funded by the South Australian Department of Health, continues in the Department of General Practice at the University of Adelaide.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, call for action and involvement by governments, NGOs, international and national associations, local communities, clinicians, researchers and volunteers to conduct activities to promote increased awareness about the problem of suicide and the many ways which can reduce suicide rates and decrease suicidal behaviours.

"Each year approximately one million people die from suicide around the world, representing one death every 40 seconds. Suicide is a leading cause of death, particularly in younger people. It is sobering that in Australia, a country with 20 million people, over 2000 people are so deeply distressed that they end up taking their lives every year.

"For every suicide, there are many family members and friends whose lives are profoundly affected emotionally, socially, and economically," Dr Clark says.

Dr Clark says suicidal behaviour has a large number of underlying causes, which are complex and interrelated, such as living in poverty, unemployment, loss of loved ones, social isolation, a breakdown in relationships and depression.

Early identification and appropriate treatment of mental illness is an important strategy for preventing suicide and the general practitioner or community health nurse is often the most appropriate person from whom to seek help, Dr Clark says.

She says the loss of a person by suicide is often experienced differently and more intensely than feelings of grief in the relatives and close friends after a death from natural causes, and as a result of these tragedies, an estimated 15,000 people are severely affected by grief every year in Australia.

 

Contact Details

Dr. Sheila Clark
Email: sheila.clark@adelaide.edu.au
Department of General Practice
Business: +61 8 8313 3460
Mobile: 0412 594 338


Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084