Speaking Out

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The suicide rate is at a 10-year high in Australia, and is the leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 44. COVERED. looks at why the majority of these are men and the schemes hoping to turn around this frightening figure.

Each day in Australia about eight people take their own lives and there are more than 65,300 suicide attempts each year. For every one person who succeeds, 30 people have tried.

Many of these people are men, more than 75 per cent, although there are increasing numbers of women taking their own lives.

The Northern Beaches, like everywhere else, has seen its share of these tragic deaths, recently involving not just men but teenagers, boys yet to become men.

Over the past two years, there has been a number of suicides of young men aged between 15 and 24 sparking increased emphasis on programs to encourage people to communicate and to watch out for the signs.

Lifeline Northern Beaches is now recruiting about 100 ‘helpers’ aged 15 and over from Northern Beaches schools and sports clubs, who will be part of the SafeTALK program.

The ‘safe’ of safeTALK stands for ‘suicide alertness for everyone’. The ‘TALK’ is about the fact that clear and open communication about suicide is one of the keys to preventing it. The letters in TALK stand for the actions that help those with thoughts of suicide: Tell, Ask, Listen, and Keep-safe.

Lifeline is also tackling male suicide in a national ‘Our Toughest Challenge Yet’ campaign to breakdown traditional male values of stoicism and masculinity. 

The national charity’s CEO Pete Shmigel says the campaign focuses on the national suicide emergency and its impact on Australian men and their families. It features an ex-NRL player, an ex-Army Officer and an ex-Emergency Services Officer. It asks the question: ‘What’s tougher? Military service, professional football, the emergency services, or telling someone you’re not OK

To raise funds and awareness Lifeline Northern Beaches has teamed up with Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club to host the second Breakwater Ball on October 14 at the International College of Management (ICMS) in Manly.

For more information and to buy tickets go to www.breakwaterball.org

Lifeline Northern Beaches
For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit