If you or someone you know is struggling, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you or someone you know is struggling, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Alarming figures show high suicide rates in Bundy, Burnett

Bundaberg and the Burnett regions have been revealed as having two of the highest rates of suicide across the state.

Data shows the death rate of suicide and self-inflicted injuries per 100,000 people in the Bundaberg area reached 22.1, between 2015 and 2019, making it the tenth highest in the state.

During this time, 92 deaths by suicide have occurred in Bundaberg.

While the Burnett has the highest rate of 27 per 100,000 people, with 67 deaths by suicide.

The statistics come from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and cover the number of deaths that occurred over the last four years.

And with suicide being the third leading cause of death in Australia, behind coronary heart disease and lung cancer, it is more important than ever to know where to turn for help.

Bundaberg Region Suicide Prevention Network chair Chris Foley said the data for the entire Wide Bay region was concerning.

He said while there is no pattern, there are many reasons that may cause someone to contemplate taking their own life, including relationship breakdowns, drug and alcohol addiction and mental health.

"Bundaberg is a low-socio economical area and with an ageing population too, so the elderly may be feeling quite isolated from their loved ones, particularly this year when COVID-19 hit, but the youth and males are still the most likely to contemplate suicide" Mr Foley said.

"If you're contemplating taking your own life, it doesn't mean you have a mental illness to be in that predicament and a lot of people don't realise that."

Led by a group of community members, the non-for-profit organisation raises awareness of local suicide prevention resources available and encourages others to speak up about how they are feeling.

He said while there remains to be a stigma attached to the topic of suicide, no one that he has come across has ever regretted opening up about what they're going through and getting help.

"A lot of people go through that stage where they are contemplating suicide because they just don't know where to turn and they perceive (the situation as) hopeless, so we are there to point them into the right direction," Mr Foley said.

"Definitely reach out because there are services out there that can help you through whatever situation you're going through and some services do go out to the more remote areas too.

"If you're unsure about where or who to turn to, get in contact with us and we're happy to put you in the right direction with a service provider that might be able to help - just saving one life makes it worth while."

 

Location

Deaths (2015-19)

Rate (per 100,000) 2015-19

Burnett

67

29
Outback (South)

23

27.7

Tablelands (East, Kuranda)

52

26.9

Outback (North)

38

25.4

Central Highlands (Qld)

34

24.8

Redcliffe

68

23.7

Whitsunday

25

22.9

Cairns (North)

60

22.7

Far North

34

22.2

Bundaberg

92

22.1

Hervey Bay

61

21.5

Cairns (South)

109

21

Surfers Paradise

51

20.7

Gladstone

62

20.5

Maryborough

44

20.5

Ipswich Hinterland

68

20.1

Rockhampton

113

20

Beenleigh

41

19.8

Brisbane Inner

81 19.6

Charters Towers (Ayr, Ingham)

39

19.2

 

Andree Roberts from the Wesley Mission's Marcus Mission previously told the NewsMail that with many facing unexpected loss, loneliness and obstacles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may have placed a strain on many people's mental health.

"We recognise the stress many people have been under adjusting to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and loss is one of the most painful emotions being dealt with," Ms Roberts said.

"Naturally loss of any sort, particularly losing a loved one to suicide or any catastrophic change in life like not being able to attend a family member's funeral, can have a horrific ripple effect on community mental health."

Ms Roberts said ways to recognise if others may be experiencing depression, anxiety or stress, is to look out for common signs such as withdrawal, emotional dysregulation and changes in behaviour.

"We all need to be mindful to be extra kind to people we are in contact with as no one knows the hidden pain many people are living with," she said.

"One genuine caring conversation or thoughtful act of inclusion can make all the difference to someone struggling.

"Let's come together and look after each other - call people you haven't heard from and delve deeper into what is going on in their lives or ask the questions - are you OK? Are you struggling with any issues at the moment? Are you having suicidal thoughts?"

If you or someone you know is struggling, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or the Bundaberg Regional Suicide Prevention Network on 0438 914 857.

 

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