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Date PostedNovember 20, 2014

High Rate of Worldwide Suicide Calls for Attention

Most people have been affected by a suicide tragedy at some time in some way, whether it was a loved one, a neighbour, a friend or even a co-worker. Sadly the World Health Organisation has released a report that highlights the issue of suicide. According to the report somewhere in the world someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds. What is most concerning is that this is an avoidable tragedy yet it is so common and the instances are growing each year.

The report led to the World Health Organisation called for national suicide prevention strategies to be implemented worldwide.

According to the report in 2012, Southeast Asian countries made up over a third of annual suicides – around 39 per cent, but only had 26 per cent of the world’s population. The report also revealed that men were twice as likely to commit suicide then women. Given that construction is still largely a male dominated industry, not only in Oz but globally, this may explain why construction workers are considered high risk when it comes to suicide.

The following excerpt from an article on Sbs.com.au explains more about the report released a few weeks ago,

(Source: Getty)

(Source: Getty)

Researchers studied 172 countries to produce the report, which capped a decade of research, comparing suicide rates between genders and age groups of a country.

Data around suicide deaths and attempts is often unreliable. Suicide is still illegal in some countries and in others suicide deaths are commonly misclassified.

The WHO report, called ‘Preventing suicide: A global imperative’, now provides a way to determine who is most at risk, as well as providing indications on the best suicide prevention approach.

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/09/04/worldwide-reforms-needed-tackle-suicide-emergency

Since the year 2000 suicide in Oz has declined. Good news but in the construction industry we still need to pay particular attention to this issue to overcome the high number of apprentices and other construction workers who take their own lives because of workplace pressures.

Professor Diego De Leo, Director of the Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention at Griffith University and one of the reports co-authors explains:

“Suicide is today a recognised emergency, a major public health problem,” he says.

This emergency exists depite the fall in global suicide deaths by around nine per cent since 2000.

The suicide rate in Australia has dropped by 10.6 per cent in that same period.

“Using the same estimates, the WHO report for 2000, nearly 890 thousand deaths and for the present report data which is the latest available, the year 2012, the amount globally is for 803,900 cases,” says Professor De Leo.

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/09/04/worldwide-reforms-needed-tackle-suicide-emergency

The report also highlights that in high income countries like Oz the biggest concentration of deaths by suicide is in middle aged and males, also in females but middle aged.

A health advocate in Oz, Sue Murray, the CEO at Suicide Prevention Australia and spokeswoman for the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention believes Australia should be aiming higher than the target set by the WHO. Murray explained that the national coalition has set its target not at a 10 per cent reduction in suicides in 10 years but in fact a 50 per cent reduction in suicides in ten years. She goes on to state:

“At the moment each of the states have a strategy. We have a framework called ‘Living is for Everyone’ at a national level, but we don’t have anything that actually sets down some clear directions, some clear strategies and some clear targets,” she says.

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/09/04/worldwide-reforms-needed-tackle-suicide-emergency

The first step in achieving this ambitious target according to Murray is obtaining more accurate data so an effective suicide prevention plan can be developed.

For additional information or support regarding suicide in Oz contact:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14,
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.


Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

Posted in White Card, White Card Construction Site Safety Articles, White Card Online


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