Youth suicide continues to concern in Queensland10 September 2022
The number of young Queenslanders who died by suicide fell by a third in 2021–22, but the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) warns the longer-term rate of youth suicide continues to rise.
QFCC Principal Commissioner Luke Twyford said the QFCC released the new data on World Suicide PreventionDay (10 September) to raise awareness of the factors that can lead to a young person taking their life.
“The death of any child, regardless of circumstances, is tragic and the enduring effect on loved ones is profound, but when it happens by their own hand, it can be especially difficult to comprehend,” Mr Twyford said.
“In 2021–22, sadly, 20 children and young people in Queensland died by suicide, a decrease from 30 in the previous year.
“While this decrease indicates a move in the right direction, concerningly, we are still seeing a slow increasing trend in the youth suicide rate of 2.2 per cent per year, on average.
“The data shows that suicide is the leading external cause of death in children aged between 10 and 14 and the leading cause overall for young people aged 15 to 17, with boys and young men 1.2 times more likely to take their
Mr Twyford urged the community to be aware of the common factors and life circumstances that were associated with youth suicide.
“While most youth suicides can’t be predicted, we do know that suicidal behaviours in young people are often not the result of a single cause, with multiple stressors and adverse life experiences being present,” Mr Twyford said.
“All but one of the young people who died by suicide had experienced stressful life events, with the four most common stressors including exposure to domestic and family violence, familial alcohol and substance misuse, home instability, and parental separation or divorce.
“The data also shows that 15 of the children and young people experienced a stressful event in the hours, days or week prior to their death, which may have influenced their decision to end their life.”
Mr Twyford said Queensland had prioritised suicide prevention and was aiming to reduce suicide deaths by 50 per cent by 2026.
“Suicide prevention is not solely a mental health issue, nor is it an issue that can be solved solely by government; instead, a coordinated approach across the community is critical for Queensland to reduce the rates of suicide, and that needs to include a focus on children and families,” Mr Twyford said.
“The number one way to help children and young people is to check in with them regularly, encourage them to talk to a trusted adult about how they are feeling, and be aware of what is going on in their lives, especially when they may be experiencing challenges or difficulties.
“From a service delivery perspective, we need greater early intervention support for vulnerable families to minimise the impact of, and exposure to, factors that may contribute to suicide later in their lives.
“And we need to include children and young people in the conversation around finding ways to better manage their mental health and wellbeing, improving access to help services, and destigmatising help-seeking behaviour.”
For media information contact:
Kirstine O’Donnell | Queensland Family and Child Commission
Phone: 0404 971 164