Lifeline has today launched an online campaign seeking a million signatures calling on the Federal Government to double funding to suicide prevention.

The petition follows the release of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showing that 2864 people took their own lives in 2014 – almost 8 per day – which is an increase of almost 13.5 per cent from 2013.

Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel said that it is time for the Federal Government to acknowledge the growing national suicide emergency and provide adequate funding to support lifesaving services, research and initiatives taking place across the sector.

“We know the profound impact that suicide can have on individuals, families, friends and whole communities,” Mr Shmigel said. “In seeking a million signatures through this campaign, we want to empower everyday Australians to join together and take important steps towards the goal of stopping suicides.

“The number deaths by suicide is more than double the road toll, and yet government funding for road safety is double that for suicide prevention. Furthermore, while we have seen a 25 per cent decrease in the number of motor vehicle deaths over the past 10 years, the number of suicides has increased significantly in this time.

“By sharing Lifeline’s online petition via social media or email, we have the opportunity to create a groundswell of support to show the government that we as a community care about this issue, we do not accept this needless loss of life and we want to do something about it.”

Lifeline Adelaide, delivered by South Australian social services agency Uniting Communities, has called on the South Australian public to get behind the campaign. Uniting Communities Chief Executive, Simon Schrapel said, “We need as many South Australians as possible to sign the petition and give a clear message that with greater community and Government support, we can turn around the alarming trend in increasing numbers of death by suicide.”

Mr Shmigel also said that while Lifeline will receive more than a million calls to its 13 11 14 crisis line this year, the national charity does not have the resources to answer every call immediately.

“We are disappointed and even heartbroken when someone has to wait for extended periods as a result of our lack of resources, but my message to those people is to please hang on the line or try calling again later – you will get through. We greatly value the community’s support so we can answer every call at all times of day all year long.”

To sign Lifeline’s petition today, visit prevent-suicide.lifeline.org.au/sign.

For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp

For comment
Simon Schrapel, 0411 643 132