Youth suicide a concern for community

Researchers are looking to natural remedies like exercise to treat depression.
Researchers are looking to natural remedies like exercise to treat depression. Contributed

SUICIDE is a subject no one likes to talk about, but if you suspect someone you know is not okay, now is the time to say something.

Queensland Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian figures show a gradual increase in the youth suicide rate for ages 10-14 since 2004.

However a spokeswoman for the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention felt it was important to highlight that these figures did not indicate an overall rise in youth suicide.

The spokeswoman said that while the 10-14 age group had increased, the 15-17 age group had seen a decrease in suicide and the 18-17 age group had not seen a substantial change in recent years.

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck said initiatives to prevent suicides were a key priority for the Queensland Mental Health Commission.

"Our sons and daughters, our grandchildren and their friends deserve the right support when they need it most, so suicide simply is not an option for them," she said.

Dr van Schoubroeck said 22 children under the age of 18 died by suicide last year compared to 15 in 2004. She said most of the deaths were children under the age of 15.

"For the first time we have seen the suicide of a child under the age of 10, which shows clearly more needs to be done," she said.

A Mental Health and Drug Strategic Plan that will suggest a range of initiatives for suicide prevention in Queensland is expected to be released in June.

Meanwhile Matt Strickland and Ross McAllister from Kids and Teens Psychology in Caboolture felt families needed to take the time to talk to each other more to assure their loved ones are okay.

"We're spending less time together. People aren't sitting down at the dinner table and talking anymore," Mr Strickland said.

He felt it was important for parents to regularly talk with their kids to give them the chance to share their concerns.

He also encouraged parents who think their child may be at risk to talk with them about it and seek help if needed.

"For a lot of adults when your head is full of stress it can be difficult to think outside yourself," he said.

Mr McAllister felt young people were under more stress than they have been in the past.

"We're seeing a greater prevalence of family breakdown, families in financial distress, those kinds of stresses really impact on children and we see that every day," he said.

He felt the most common mental health issues youth faced were depression and anxiety, often caused by major changes in life such as leaving or changing schools, leaving home, starting uni or new careers or relationship break-ups.

"There is a stigma associated with mental illness, it's not easy to seek help and have the courage to come forward and say that you may need it," he said.

"We want to feel like we are coping."

If you are in need of counselling or mental health support speak to your GP or phone Lifeline on 131114.


Risk factors for suicide

History of self-harm

Mental disorders

Physical illness

Family history of suicide

History of sexual, physical or emotional abuse

Social isolation


Relationship breakdowns

Changes in life; family structure, school, moving house

High achievers


Low self-esteem

Having no meaningful interests



Are you ok?

Where to get help

Your GP

Lifeline 131114

Kids Help Line 1800551800

Kids and Teens Psychology Centre Caboolture 53270122

Parent Line 1300301300

Caboolture Mental Health 53161400

Emergency 000

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