New study lifts lid on tragic toll

MEN aged 35 to 44 were the most likely group to take their own lives, the second report to the State Government on suicide in Tasmania has revealed.

And almost four times as many men than women died by suicide.

The report released last week used data from the Tasmanian Suicide Register and provided an in-depth analysis of the 505 deaths reported to, and investigated by, Tasmanian coroners from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2018.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the report would inform the next Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Strategy, to be developed in 2022.

“It is important to recognise that the reasons people take their own life are complex and not always connected to mental illness,” Mr Rockliff said.
“It puts us in a much stronger position to target assistance for people at risk of suicide.
“I am deeply committed to working with all Tasmanians to ensure that everyone who experiences suicidal distress can access compassionate care when they need it. “Suicide prevention is a whole-of-government, whole-of-community issue, and it is up to us all to do what we can to support each other, to reach out to others in times of disruption and distress, and to help build hope for the future.”

Other key findings include:
• Nearly one-quarter of suicides occurred among people living in areas classified as the most disadvantaged, and 15 per cent occurred in those living in the least disadvantaged areas of Tasmania;

• One third were employed and 16 per cent were unemployed at the time of death;

• Two per cent of people who died by suicide had a terminal illness at the time of death;

• Two-thirds had at least one reported physical illness and nearly half experienced acute, chronic, or cancer-related pain prior to death;

• Females had a higher prevalence of physical illness and pain than males;

• The majority of those who died by suicide had experienced at least one interpersonal and/or family stressor, with males and females similarly affected;

• Separation from a partner (actual or perceived) was the most common identified interpersonal/contextual stressor followed by death of a family member and conflict with partner/family; and

• One-fifth were either retired or unable to work at the time of death either due to a mental and/or physical illness.

The Report is available at Tasmanian Suicide Register Report | Mental Health.

If reading this report causes distress, please seek timely support from Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, or 000 in an emergency.

Choose joy – but you may have to work on it

WHAT do you picture when I say the word joy?

When I Googled images for joy, I was met with random groups of people jumping in unison, arms high in the air, and a perfect sunset in the background.

As a society we’ve been conditioned to believe that joy is some weird blissed-out state, unicorns, rainbows, skipping kids and sunny days.

So it’s no wonder we are a little lost in this search for joy. Reality is, joy is one of many emotions that we can experience.

While some of the things I mentioned above can evoke feelings of joy, the emotion itself is not all unicorns and rainbows.

Contrary to popular belief, joy can feel uncomfortable. Whenever you are focusing on something that gives your life meaning, and ignites a fire in your belly, you are experiencing joy.

When you pursue these things, it’s joy that pushes you to work harder, try harder, be willing to make mistakes and pick yourself up again after a failure.

So what are some ways you can start to cultivate more joy in your life?

Learn to let go – let go of the past, let go of trying to control the present, let go of unrealistic expectations of yourself and/or others, and let go of fears and grudges and disappointments.

Allow yourself to appreciate the little moments that make life meaningful.

Take the mask off and be yourself – give yourself permission to embrace all your weirdness and quirks.

Learning to accept yourself, warts and all, and being kinder to yourself when things go wrong, will increase your enjoyment of life, resilience and well-being.

Take action – joy is not going to knock on your door one day (unless you have a friend called Joy).

Get out of your head and into the present moment.

Suffering exists in the mind. Rather than spending lots of time thinking about all the things that are going wrong, choose to take action towards things that used to bring a smile to your face, try something new, and do those things that make you feel excited and fulfilled.

Life is messy, challenging and painful.

That is inevitable.

However, the more focus we give to our negative life situations, the more we will be left feeling exhausted, resentful and fearful.

The choice on how to respond to challenges in in your hands.

If you would like to speak with RAW, please call our 24/7 help line on 1300 4357 6283

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