Purcell calls for suicide prevention in south-west Vic

Member for Western Victoria James Purcell has called on the Minister for Mental Health to fund suicide prevention strategies in south-west Victoria.

Mr Purcell said suicide rates across the Moyne Shire had risen by an alarming 400 per cent between 2009 and 2014, putting the Moyne Shire suicide rate at almost triple the state average of 10.8 per 100,000 population.

"This week's budget allocates $27.5 million for suicide prevention initiatives including dedicated programs in six local government areas," Mr Purcell said.

"These trials will support communities to implement strategies aimed at preventing suicide, including school-based support, mental health literacy programs and workforce training.

"You shouldn't be at greater risk of suicide because of your postcode and we want funding for south-west Victoria."

Mr Purcell has also called for quarterly reporting of suicide data, which would allow agencies and support services to be immediately responsive to these alarming trends. 

"Suicide statistics are not released until after the coronial process has been completed - often taking 18 months or more. This lag is creating major issues for communities wanting to respond to suicide, as they will always be a couple of years behind.

"It also impedes the planning and responsiveness of agencies and support services.

"2015 stats are not yet available but I personally know of several tragic suicides within the last 16 months, which I fear will have pushed our suicide rate even higher. I also know this recent spate of suicides has placed enormous pressure on our already stretched services in the south-west."

Mr Purcell says he will work with the Minister and local support agencies to ensure Moyne Shire is included in funding under the $27m suicide prevention strategy.