The National Rural Health Alliance today welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a Productivity Commission inquiry into the role of mental health in the Australian economy and the best ways to support and improve national mental wellbeing.
But Alliance Chief Executive Officer, Mark Diamond, urged the Government to move forward with positive programs aimed at countering the increased rates of suicide, particularly in outer regional and remote areas.
Mr Diamond said the incidence of suicide was far greater in country areas, with rates rising from 10.4 people per 1000,000 in capital cities to as many as 18.8 per 100,000 people in remote areas.
“These numbers are shocking,” Mr Diamond said.
“At a national level, suicide is the single leading cause of death for people aged between 15 and 44 years of age. Children aged 5 to 17 years are more likely to die from suicide than from any other cause – this alone is a real concern.
“We know that the Commonwealth provides an estimated $4.7 billion annually on mental health services. However, the rates of suicide are so alarming that we should not wait for the assessment of the full economic impact of mental health issues in our community.
‘The National Rural Health Alliance welcomes the Productivity Commission inquiry. But we maintain that there is already compelling evidence indicating the incidence of suicide, particularly in rural and remote Australia, requires a substantial funding commitment to make sure the supports that people need, regardless of where they live, are available and accessible’ Mr Diamond said.
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