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Call to arms on suicide: parents and professionals stake election claims -

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MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: With a rising suicide toll claiming more lives than road accidents, a coalition of parents and mental health professionals is putting the issue on the election agenda.

They're highlighting the regions where suicide is up to three times the national average and calling on all candidates and parties to commit to action.

Specifically, they want the 2014 recommendations by the National Mental Health Commission carried out, including regional suicide prevention programs.

Annie Guest reports.

ANNIE GUEST: Despite treatment for personality disorder, Geoff Diver's daughter, Ruby, did not reach her 19th birthday.

GEOFF DIVER: She admitted herself on the Saturday morning. I was in Melbourne at a conference, and then she didn't even see her psychiatrist until the Monday. She requested a week's stay and they only offered her two or three days, so then she went home on the Tuesday and hung herself Tuesday night.

ANNIE GUEST: The Western Australian describes navigating the mental health system as torturous.

GEOFF DIVER: You know, a lot of people who are mental health consumers actually have a life threatening illness. I mean we automatically see it when people get cancer or are in car accidents.

ANNIE GUEST: Yet suicide claims more than twice as many lives as road accidents and is the biggest killer of young people.

Suicides have increased by 20 per cent in ten years, that's despite more money being spent.

JOHN MENDOZA: If we had any other sudden cause of death increase by that magnitude we would have a very assertive nationally coordinated response to it.

ANNIE GUEST: Professor John Mendoza is the former chairman of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health.

He lost his nephew to suicide.

JOHN MENDOZA: We continue to see failures of care when people present to emergency departments following a period in hospital when they're discharged to community. These are two areas that I think represent the easiest areas to fix.

ANNIE GUEST: Suicide rates can be up to three times the national average in Aboriginal communities and in areas where manufacturing and mining have declined.

Today statistics from 28 electorates are being released by a coalition of parents and professionals including professor Ian Hickie from the Brain and Mind Centre.

IAN HICKIE: We want every candidate who is standing in the House to commit to a national suicide prevention program and to take local leadership.

ANNIE GUEST: He's calling for all of the recommendations of the 2014 National Mental Health Commission Review to be rolled out, including a measurable ten-year strategy.

IAN HICKIE: It's time to get serious nationally. As recommended by the National Commission, we need at least 12 focused, intensive trials of suicide preventions in the major regions of Australia.

ANNIE GUEST: He's wants all parties to declare their commitment.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Annie Guest reporting.

And if you or anyone you know needs help, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.