South Australia Coroner Mark Johns is suggesting a victims-of-suicide toll similar to the road toll saying this may prevent 200 people in the state from taking their own lives every year.
In an opinion in the Advertiser published Tuesday, Johns raised concern about South Australia's suicide rate being double that of road accident deaths. He said the problem should be given the same attention.
University of Adelaide Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry Robert Goldney is supporting Johns' view. Adelaidenow.com quoted the professor as saying that there was evidence 20-25 per cent of suicides could be avoided if there was better management of the victims' problems.
As to the public concern that publicising suicide may induce copycat behaviour, Goldney says only two to three percent of suicide cases could be attributed to copycat deaths.
According to Adelaidenow.com, Goldney says, I am well aware that there are those who believe publicity will increase suicide. However, that is inappropriate publicity and I would see a toll as appropriate publicity which would register concern at the same time as making suggestions about doing something about it.
If the media can be used to publicise the fact that suicide can be prevented, that is a powerful suicide-prevention initiative, he adds.
However, Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner Leena Sudano is of the opinion that published suicide toll may not prevent suicide.