Surprise drop in suicides during pandemic

Maureen Dettre
·1-min read

In a year marked by devastating bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic, the number of lives lost to suicide in NSW has unexpectedly fallen by a "remarkable" five per cent.

NSW government data reveals 807 people took their own lives in the 12 months to November - 46 fewer than in 2019.

It's the most significant reduction in suicide numbers in NSW in a decade, Lifeline Australia Chairman John Brogden says.

"These are the most remarkable figures of the COVID- 19 pandemic," he said.

"This is a moment to celebrate life."

Nationally, calls to Lifeline's helpline rose by 20 per cent over the year, equivalent to about 3000 calls a day.

"Hundreds of thousands of Australians reached out for help to Lifeline and other mental health services and got the help they needed when they needed it and stopped short of suicide," Mr Brogden said.

"People have asked for help and got it when they needed it. As a result, we have seen a drop in the number of suicides in NSW.

"I hope this is a turning point for mental health in Australia."

Mr Brogden urged Australians to keep connecting with each other, especially over the holiday period.

"If you think someone may be struggling, please continue to reach out to them to offer support."

Lifeline 13 11 14

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