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MP speaks on youth suicide in parliament.



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Press Release

MP SPEAKS ON YOUTH SUICIDE IN PARLIAMENT 19 FEBRUARY 2004

The Federal Member for Calwell, Ms Maria Vamvakinou, has addressed the issue of youth suicide in a private members business motion speech to the Federal Parliament this week.

The motion recognised the magnitude of youth suicide and congratulated community groups that worked to minimize its harm to young people and the community more generally.

“As a parent and as a politician I feel it is my responsibility to help bring attention to this situation.” Ms. Vamvakinou said.

“Youth suicide is a human tragedy affecting thousands of Australian families and communities every year. I know this because suicide has touched my life on three occasions.”

“Australia currently has the second highest rate of youth suicide amongst OECD nations, and suicide and self-harm are currently the second leading cause of death amongst young Australians between 12 and 24 years of age.” Ms. Vamvakinou said.

“These figures increase in rural areas and suburban outskirts, such as in my own electorate in Melbourne's north-west.”

“Communities where education awareness programs have been established have all seen a decrease in self-harming behaviour and suicide attempts amongst 15- to 24-year-olds.”

“I am encouraged by the fact that the Leader of the Opposition has recognised that there is a link between depression and feelings of alienation and between the breakdown of relationships and the breakdown of community.” Ms. Vamvakinou said.

“Mark Latham’s decision to create a community relations portfolio and appoint the member for Melbourne to take up the challenge in this critical area is, I believe, one of the most significant initiatives taken by a politician to address a pressing social and human crisis.” Ms. Vamvakinou said.