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Support children who are expressing and acting upon suicidal thoughts

A death by suicide represents a sad loss of a life, as well as a significant and often traumatic loss for families, friends and communities. 

In 2017, 804 people in Queensland took their own life (3,128 people Australia-wide) (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018).  

For every person who dies in this way, it is conservatively estimated at least 20 more people attempt to end their own life (SANE Australia, 2018).

As noted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), deaths of children by suicide is an extremely sensitive issue.  Nationally…’during 2017, suicide remained the leading cause of death of children between 5 and 17 years of age, with 98 deaths occurring in this age group.  Nearly 80% of the child suicides were aged between 15 and 17 (78.8%).’

Within Queensland in the 2017-18 period, 24 young people died of suspected or confirmed suicide.  (Queensland Family and Child Commission, 2018). 

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, the suicide rate was more than twice that of non-Indigenous young people (Queensland Family and Child Commission, 2018).

Tip

For information about suicidal ideation, risk factors and warning signs, see the headspace resource ‘Suicidal ideation’.  It is important to seek assistance from mental health professionals in collating a safety plan for a young person.

A robust plan with the safety and support network is vital.

Tip

See procedure 5 Support a child in care for guidance regarding suicide risk alert, recording and safety planning.

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