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Title: Suicide: An Introduction
Contributor(s): Bartik, Warren (author); Maple, Myfanwy (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2011
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Abstract: Suicide is an incredibly complex phenomenon with far reaching effects on families, friends and communities who all grapple with the tragic loss of a loved one but also the question of why! Could we have done something? Is there something we missed? Why couldn't they tell someone? Why didn't they speak to me? These simple questions of course belie the complexities of human behaviour and particularly a decision to take one's own life. There are no simple answers and whilst suicide is considered a preventable death, it cannot be assumed that "a suicide is a suicide" as was cautioned by Shneidman (1985). There are multiple causes, effects of culture, social situations, differing meanings plus developmental and health status issues to name a few, that need to be considered when attempting to understand suicide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there are approximately one million suicides each year worldwide and that the rate of suicide varies greatly from country to country. For some countries, the suicide rate has remained fairly constant over time except when a major event (such as a world war) occurs. For other countries there has been a rapid rise in suicide deaths. In general however the WHO states that worldwide rates have increased by 60% over the last fifty years. Over the last ten years in Australia, the reported data suggests an overall downward trend in suicide rates. Yet, in Australia for each person who dies by suicide, there are at least another twenty-five people who will attempt suicide with a non-fatal outcome. Estimates are actually much higher than this but more difficult to determine since many attempts remain unreported or are recorded as an accident. In Australia approximately 2200 people take their own lives each year. Research has shown that certain groups have much higher risk or are over represented among these deaths, and include young people, older people, males, rural people and Indigenous Australians. We also know from national survey data that about 2.3% of the population (approximately 370,000 people) aged between 16 and 85 years indicated that they had 'serious thoughts' about suicide and around 91,000 people had made some form of plan. Clearly suicide is a major public health challenge with substantial human and economic costs. What then as a nation are we doing to address this and should we be doing more?
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Hope: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction to Help Raise Suicide Awareness, p. 24-27
Publisher: Kayelle Press
Place of Publication: Lithgow, Australia
ISBN: 9780980864229
Field of Research (FOR): 111714 Mental Health
HERDC Category Description: B2 Chapter in a Book - Other
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