Has Increased Funding Led to a Decline?.
The significant increase of youth suicide in Australia over the past decade, has become the focus of both community and government concern.
Since 1991, more Australians have died by suicide than by motor vehicle accidents. 2500 deaths per year in Australia are by suicide, and for males aged 15-24, 25 percent of all recorded deaths are by suicide: three times the rate of thirty years ago .
There are two major leads in regard to the cause of suicide as a whole.
Depression is broadly recognised as the medical cause, where the problem is seen as belonging to the individual. Under this model, the illness itself is treated, so the remedy involves mental health interventions.
Stress is the other causing factor; only this model points to the social framework in which suicide occurs as being of the most importance. The way in which society influences the individual is vital in explaining suicidal behaviour, so the remedy involves identifying the influential social factors and introducing change to alleviate their impact on the individual (HSH 1995). The rise in rate of youth suicide is popularly attributed to the idea that adolescents today are under more and different types of stress, compared to young people from earlier generations. .
Although the youth suicide rate in Australia is high by international standards, the problem is also prevalent in other industrialised nations (HSH 1995), which leads us to look more closely at how our society is contributing to the problem.
The issues of sexuality and identity as being major contributing factors in youth suicide, were largely overlooked in Australian policy and research until quite recently (AIFS 1999). Perhaps this occurred following an increased media coverage of issues concerning the gay community.
Last year for example, Gay Catholics placed a memorial wreath outside the gates of St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne in honour of Lesbian and Gay youth who have suffered abuse or attempted suicide because of homophobia in church schools.