Experts say that more funds should be spent in mental health issues or else a nine-month government inquiry into suicide prevention is put to waste.
The 200-page Senate inquiry report, dubbed as The Hudden Toll: Suicide in Australia, has suggested that a five-year advertising campaign should be prioritized to lessen the suicide activities, provide mandatory training for police, displace more paramedics and emergency department staffs, and improve the data collection.
Despite the reports, the Federal Government is still refusing to take the matter seriously, according to Suicide Prevention Australia chairman Michael Dudley.
“There is a crying need for the federal government to get serious about mental health funding and suicide prevention,” Dr Dudley said yesterday.
“We are watching and waiting. The question is, for how long?
John Mendoza, the chairman of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health, resigned this month, stating that there has been a lack of government funding and progress in mental health reform.
Dr. Mendoza expressed his disappointment that the Government has only invested $30 million per annum for funding when the sector needs at least $1 billion per year.
Figures show that about 2000 suicides and 65,000 attempted suicides were reported every year, however it may be higher due to accidental overdoses, misadventure, car accidents or other unknown causes.
According to psychiatrist Patrick McGorry from the Australia of the Year , suicide occurs every three to four hours and an attempt every eight minutes.
At least six people are in shock when deaths occur.
Also included in the Senate inquiry committee are recommendation on changing media reporting on suicide; provide protocols for follow-up support of people in hospital after attemtping suicide; short-term accomodation centers for patients discharged from hospitals after suicide attempts; and have affordable access to hotlines via mobile phones.