Every year 2,500 people die as a result of suicide in Australia, with suicide being the most common cause of death among young people and adults aged 15-44 years. Each year in Australia there are more deaths from suicide than from homicide and car crashes combined. For every young person who dies by suicide, whole families and many others around them are left devastated. Despite this, comparatively little research has been directed to understanding and preventing suicide or to evaluating methods to disseminate suicide prevention programs in the community.
The National Institute for Mental Health Research is currently undertaking and planning a range of studies focusing on suicide and its prevention. These studies are aimed at understanding community attitudes and knowledge about suicide and to develop measures for assessing them. The Institute also seeks to answer such questions as “What are the risk factors for suicidal thoughts?” and “Why do some people with mental health problems develop suicidal thought while others do not?” The answers to these questions will assist with future suicide prevention initiatives. Meanwhile, the Institute is developing and evaluating innovative suicide prevention programs designed to prevent suicide and assist those with thoughts of suicide.