Editorial | Speaking out is the place to start



Many find it hard to even read the word, let alone speak about what it means.

But we do need to speak. We do need to open the doors to conversations about mental health, and we do need to recognise that raising awareness and understanding of this issue is vital if anything is to change.

We cannot escape that suicide is real, and it is happening in our community.

Lifeline statistics show that in Australia in 2015, the overall suicide rate was 12.6 people for every 100,000. This was the highest rate in more than 10 years.

Australian Bureau of Statistics causes of death data shows there were 3027 deaths due to suicide in 2015.

This is more than double the number of motor vehicle deaths each year, and equates to more than eight deaths by suicide every day.

Lifeline estimates that for every death by suicide, as many as 30 people attempt to end their lives.

This simply has to change, and we need to do everything we can in our community to make this happen.

Talking about the issue and raising awareness is how we start.

The Mail-Times has launched a new News Focus series, where we take a deeper look at a pertinent issue in our community.

This week, our focus is suicide.

Our hope is that through the voices of those with lived experience and those working in the mental health sector, we can shine a light on this incredibly important issue, and also raise awareness of the support channels that are available in our area.

We are extremely grateful to all those who reached out to us to share their expertise in the mental health field, and to share their lived experiences.

Included in our coverage is Trudi Weir’s story.

Trudi’s life – and that of her family – changed forever when her husband Jason took his own life in January last year.

Trudi hopes that sharing her family’s story will show others that it’s okay to speak about depression and suicide, and to ask for help.

As she told us: “Your initial starting point is talking about it and speaking up and not hiding, because it’s not shameful.”

By raising awareness of suicide and taking the topic from taboo into the general discourse, we can hopefully make it easier for those who are struggling to seek help.