Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports suicides remain lead cause of death in young people

The ABS has released its 2017 causes of death report today and has revealed that suicide was the leading cause of death for young people aged between 5-17 years of age. Sadly, 98 deaths occurred in this age group representing a 10.1% increase in deaths from 2016. Additionally, nearly 80% of youth suicides were aged between 15 and 17 (78.8%). Suicide also remained the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, accounting for 40% of all Indigenous youth deaths.

In the event that you will be reporting on this you may wish to consider the impact of suicide on school communities. The Head of headspace in Schools, Kristen Douglas outlines this below:

  1. “The suicide of a young person has a long and lasting impact on friends, families, schools and communities.
  2. “Help-seeking and early intervention is a proven pathway to suicide prevention. When support is accessed in the early stages of distress or suicidal thinking, young people are best placed to recover quickly, and learn lifelong coping strategies. We know that with the right support, young people can get things back on track.”
  3. “Research shows suicide risk in schools is an increasing concern and no school is immune. This indicates that we need to continue to work with educators to build mental health literacy and have the skills to identify and respond to risk when they see it. 
  4. “Returning to school can play an important part in a young person’s recovery following an incident of suicide attempt, so we encourage all schools to develop a Return to School Student Support plan to help your school establish a safe and supportive learning environment for the young person.”
  5. “It is critical that schools engage with the National Education Initiative (NEI), launching on November 1, as this new national framework and program has a suicide post-vention service to support Australian secondary schools. 

Steph Fonti
headspace Media and Communications Coordinator 
(03) 9278 0289 or