Suicide affects people of all ages, genders and cultural backgrounds, but some groups experience higher rates of death by suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people who identify as LGBTIQ also experience higher rates. People who have recently migrated or are adjusting to new cultures experience unique stressors that can increase their risk of suicide ideation, suicide plans and suicide attempts.
The effects of suicide are immediate, far-reaching and long-lasting. They are felt by families, friends, colleagues and the broader community.
Communities, such as universities, can play a crucial role in suicide prevention. By improving individuals’ and communities’ resilience, changing the way suicide is understood and discussed, and helping people to connect to support services, universities can help reduce the number of deaths by suicide.
It is important that conversations about suicide and mental health are safe and accurate. Universities Australia is collaborating with headspace and Everymind to deliver online training to senior leaders at universities this year. Participants will be provided with specialist advice on developing institutional suicide response plans, and how to communicate safely and openly about a suicide.
On 2 September, Universities Australia and headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation released an evidence-informed toolkit to help universities keep their communities safe and supported following a death by suicide.
Universities Australia, headspace and Everymind are working together to promote and protect positive mental health and wellbeing in university communities.