NFP Study to Investigate Victorian Suicides
28 March 2013 at 10:18 am
A ground-breaking new Not for Profit study is set to examine every Victorian suicide over a two-year period to try to save the lives of people who may be at risk in the future.
Mental health Not for Profit beyondblue has joined forces with the Coroners Court of Victoria and The University of Melbourne to fund the study, investigating over 1000 confirmed suicides and other suspected suicide deaths that occurred between 2009 and 2010.
The study is reportedly costing $277,390 and will identify the frequency and nature of any contact these people had with health, housing and other services such as police, ambulance and health professionals before they died.
Beyondblue chief executive Kate Carnell said the findings would be used to enhance Victoria’s suicide register, managed by the Coroners Court, to create a comprehensive map of the service pathways people used before their death.
“Any suicide is a tragic event and we know that in the lead up to their deaths, many people who take their lives often have contact with services or other agencies that act as pathways to health services,” Carnell said.
“This study will reveal the sort of contact people had with these organisations in the 12 months before their deaths and why they made this contact.
“For the first time, we’ll be able to get vital information on the pathways that people were on before they died.
“Understanding these pathways means agencies can help improve outcomes for at-risk people, who often experience depression or anxiety.”
On average, 550 Victorians die from suicide each year, almost double the Victorian road toll in 2012.
Beyondblue says it hopes that the findings will be expanded nationally to try to save lives across the country.
Victorian State Coroner Judge Ian Gray said the study would also provide crucial information for coroners investigating suicide deaths.
“The role of coroners is to reduce preventable deaths and suicides are the second leading cause of deaths resulting from external injuries in Victoria and indeed Australia,” he said.
“This information will be of immense assistance to coroners investigating these types of deaths and in particular, when they consider making prevention-focused recommendations in this area.”
It is estimated that the study will take two years to complete with each death examined by a team of Coroners Court and University of Melbourne researchers.
One of the first tasks of the study will be to establish a working party made up of suicide prevention advocates and representatives from the health sector and other organisations.
“This project has the potential to offer significant new insights into how we as a community can be more aware and help to prevent suicides,” Kate Carnell said.