Adelaide joins World Suicide Prevention Day

Wednesday, 10 September 2003

The battle against one of the world's biggest killers is being stepped up with the launch of World Suicide Prevention Day today (Wednesday, September 10) - and a prominent University of Adelaide suicide expert is joining the event.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention, in conjunction with the World Health Organization, has designed the day as a way of focusing attention on the problem globally.

The Australian representative for the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is Dr Sheila Clark from the University of Adelaide's Department of General Practice.

An expert in suicide prevention and grief, Dr Clark is attending the international launch of World Suicide Prevention Day in Stockholm, Sweden.

"World Suicide Prevention Day aims to put the issue on the agenda globally and regionally, but it also seeks to show that action must be taken locally - and this action starts with you and me," Dr Clark says.

"The Day underlines the responsibility for all of us to help save lives that may be at stake. It is possible - we can do it."

Professor Diego de Leo, President of IASP, says: "Suicide deaths are only a part of the problem, with many more people making non-fatal attempts to take their lives or harm themselves. And for every suicide death there are many survivors whose lives are profoundly affected emotionally, socially and economically. Each year the economic costs associated with self-inflicted injuries are estimated in the millions of dollars."

Actions needed to tackle suicide include:

  • Improved treatment methods and facilities for those with psychiatric disorders;
  • Increased awareness of the signs and symptoms of suicidal behaviour, and where people can get help;
  • Encouraging governments to raise the priority for the early identification and treatment of individuals suffering from mental disorders, drug and alcohol abuse and dependence;
  • Restricting access to methods of suicide through areas as diverse as monitoring of prescriptions, stricter gun laws and vehicle exhaust pipe design.

In the year 2000, an estimated 815,000 people died from suicide around the world - one death every 40 seconds. Suicide is the 13th most common cause of death worldwide, the 4th most common among those aged 15-44 and the 6th most common cause of ill health and disability, according to WHO figures.


Contact Details

Dr Sheila Clark
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3463

Mr Tony Ellitt
Suicide Prevention Australia
Business: +61 2 9568 3111