The Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation mission
Thousands of Australians are affected by suicide each year. Suicide is the number 1cause of death for Australians in the age groups 15-44, 25-34, and 35-44 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). Many people do not appreciate the full impact of suicide. To put it into perspective, suicide is far more common in young adults than deaths in car accidents and is the 3rd leading cause of potential life years lost (ABS).
Around 2,000-3,000 suicides occur in Australia each year with an estimate of 10-20 times that number making an attempt. For every death are around fifty family members and friends- grieving that loss; the battle with suicide is a hard one faced by many.
The Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation (ASPF) is an organisation dedicated to helping people beat their battle with suicidal thoughts and for people who are adjusting to living without a loved one who was lost to suicide. The ASPF is a nationwide, non-government, privately funded organisation whose focus is to provide an outlet for those considering suicide and their friends and relatives affected by such an event.
ASPF has run its Hold on to Life campaign initially through telephone and subsequently internet services for nearly twenty years attracting thousands of interactions a year managing despair and bringing hope by giving medical information, comfort, direction, an opportunity to reflect, support and other options. The aim is to offer services built around therapy principles focussing on empathy, explanation, emphasis of hope, evaluation and evolution that will be used 24/7 for maximum accessibility, without embarrassment.
The ASPF recognises the need for people with suicidal thoughts to have access to knowledge and advice that is easy to understand. Information provided on the websites seeks to educate and assist visitors without being overwhelming, and additional links are provided for further research.
The ASPF is well aware of the prevalence of depression, anxiety and suicidality among the LGBT community, and cater to those individuals through their online resources. In addition, there are numerous sub-sections to the website tailored to the needs of different groups in the community. All sections of the websites offer advice on intervention and prevention but also on what to do after suicide.
The ASPF has recently launched its new website www.youthsuicide.com which is specifically targeted to help young people. The ability to concentrate for long periods is one casualty of emotional distress, and visual messages are more easily absorbed by those suffering emotional pain. This is where the ASPF excels with the use of videos.
Not only does ASPF understand the targeted demographic it also provides a place of solidarity to someone coming to seek help. The ASPF is an anonymous way to get more information and understand why people are feeling the way they’re feeling and helps people realise there are people who understand and want to help.
The ASPF is a dedicated organisation whose aim is to help people thinking about suicide or people trying to adjust to living without a loved one. Their basic message is “you would never tell a friend to die; tell yourself what you’d tell a friend”. Along with this premise; the ASPF is a place to educate people on the issue of suicide and a place to refer someone who you know is suffering. It is an organisation that could potentially save lives and the ‘Hold onto Life’ campaign is one that everyone should support.
If you need help right now, please check out www.youthsuicide.com
Or call one of the following hotlines
Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation: 1800 HOLDON (1800 465 366)
Lifeline: 13 11 14 (available 24/7)
Suicide Callback: 1300 659 467 (available 24/7)
By Nidhi Jayant