NSW first to sign charter to prevent suicide

New South Wales has become the first state or territory government to sign the new National Charter. Credit: Seattle Children’s Hospital

Accurately and respectfully talking about suicide and encouraging people to seek help is in the spotlight today on World Suicide Prevention Day, as NSW becomes the first state or territory government to sign the new National Charter, which aims to prevent suicide.

Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said the signing of The National Communications Charter: A unified approach to mental health and suicide prevention is an important way the NSW Government can encourage safe discussions about suicide.

“When talking about mental health or suicide, we all have a responsibility – individuals, businesses, media and governments – to communicate in ways that are safe,” Mrs Davies said.

“Lives can be saved by engaging and having the right conversations with someone that may need help. The most important message is that there is help available and we should empower people to take action and get support.”

The new Charter, available online and developed by Everymind, gives practical guidance around language and how to support a friend, family member, colleague or even a stranger, that may be experiencing a mental health issue.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the NSW suicide rate is below the national average, with 805 deaths by suicide in 2016, down from 815 the year before.

“Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and there is still much work to do which is why the NSW Government and the Mental Health Commission of NSW are working together with communities across the State on a much needed suicide prevention framework.”

The 2018-19 NSW Budget delivered a record investment of $2.1 billion for mental health services and $700 million for infrastructure.

For more information on how to participate in World Suicide Prevention Day today visit www.wspd.org.au. To read or sign the Charter go to www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/the-charter.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14. For mental health services in your local area call the NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511.