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Mental health summit to focus on suicide prevention

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An alarming spike in the number of Australians taking their own lives last year has prompted the government to call for an emergency mental health summit.

Leading mental health not-for-profits Lifeline, Beyondblue, Everymind, Black Dog Institute and Orygen will be in attendance to address the more than 3,000 people who have died as a result of suicide in 2017, a 9.1 per cent increase over 2016.

Due to a large drop in 2016, the 3,128 figure is still less than it was three years ago, but Health Minister Greg Hunt said the “deeply concerning” numbers forced action.

“Suicide is a national tragedy and one life lost to suicide is too many,” Hunt said.

“I will be asking the summit participants to work together to produce a statement of general principles around the best way to prevent suicide at a national level.”

Hunt will host the summit, along with National Mental Health Commission Chair, Lucy Brogden.

“What has been lacking… is a broad consensus from the mental health and suicide prevention sector about where the government should be focusing its efforts and investments,” Brogden said.

The event will consider the progress achieved through the fifth national mental and suicide prevention plan.

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