Published: 19 August 2015



[2.40 p.m.]

In light of community concerns regarding suicide rates in Tasmania -

(1)  Have rates of suicide increased over the last five years, statewide and/or on a regional level?

(2)  What suicide prevention programs are in place to support individuals and communities?

(3)  What support programs are in place to support individuals and communities affected by suicide?

(4)  What is the current status of the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Strategy 2010-14?  Has the strategy been reviewed?  Is an updated strategy being prepared?  If so, when will it be released?



Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her question.

(1)  Australian Bureau of Statistics age-standardised suicide data indicates that Tasmania's suicide rate has not increased over the last five years.  The five-year age-standardised suicide rate for 2009-13 was 14 per 100 000 compared to 14.1 for 2008-12, and 14.1 for 2007-11.  The rate of 14 per 100 000 is above the national average of 10.9 per 100 000.  Data contained in the ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2013 report, released in March 2015, indicates that 74 Tasmanians took their own lives in 2013, of which 52 deaths were male and 22 were female.

(2)  Suicide prevention programs are funded by the Australian Government through the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and also state and territory jurisdictions.  In Tasmania, a range of community sector organisations provide suicide prevention services, including Rural Alive and Well, which provides outreach support, and the OzHelp Foundation, which provides mental health and suicide prevention education and support in the building and construction industry.

Relationships Australia Tasmania Inc is also funded by the Tasmania Government to deliver a range of suicide prevention initiatives, including the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Community Network - the Network - and its Annual Suicide Prevention Forum and LIFE Awards.  In June 2015 Relationships Australia Tasmania, through the Network, finalised a directory of services for suicide prevention and associated services that provide support to individuals and communities affected by suicide.  The directory is available through the Network's website at

The Network also receives funding to support communities to develop statewide suicide prevention community actions plans.

(3)  A range of services are available to support individuals and communities affected by suicide:


(a)   the Standby Response Service, which provides a 24-hour coordinated crisis response following a suicide bereavement;

(b)   Choose Life Services;

(c)   a Lifelink Samaritans Support After Suicide group;

(d)   Lifeline Tasmania; and

(e)   a Sudden Loss Support Kit developed by the Department of Health and Human Services contains information on sudden loss, grief and suicide bereavement. It includes the details of a number of support services.  The kit is a popular resource with services and communities and has recently been updated.

(4)  The Tasmanian Government recognises that suicide prevention is an important public health issue and has invested an additional $3 million over three years into targeted suicide prevention initiatives.

(a)   Tasmania's Suicide Prevention Strategy 2010-14 was extended until December 2015 to allow time for the development of a new Tasmanian suicide prevention strategy and the development of a new youth suicide prevention strategy.

(b)   The current strategy will be reviewed through the consultation process, which will underpin the development of the new strategy.


(c)   It is anticipated these new strategies will be released in December.

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