New figures released on Queensland’s youth suicide rate named it the leading cause of death in youths aged 15-17.
New figures released on Queensland’s youth suicide rate named it the leading cause of death in youths aged 15-17. Ben Goode

Suicide rate shocks youth worker

ALARMING new figures on Queensland's Youth Suicide rate have left Hervey Bay Youthcare worker George Seymour at a loss for words.

The disturbing figures, which were released earlier this week, showed a 28.5% increase in youth suicide since 2004, making it the leading cause of death for people aged 15-17 for the second year in a row.

With Queensland's youth suicide rates the highest in the country, the shocking suicide of a Queensland child aged nine was yet another saddening discovery outlined in the report.

Mr Seymour, who works with troubled and homeless teens, said the report made tragic reading.

"Suicides can be prevented, we need to view this as a whole of community responsibility," Mr Seymour said.

"Youths today face a whole range of different problems to those of previous generations.

"A lot of the youths I talk to in Hervey Bay are trying to maintain these complex relationships.

"It's a lot of pressure for them, and it's taking a toll on younger kids."

Mr Seymour said suicide should not be the leading cause of deaths in youths.

"Something is going seriously wrong," he said.

"There could be few worse indictments on a society than the fact that suicide is the leading cause of death for children aged 15 to 17."

Several emerging risk factors were outlined in the report, with relationship breakdowns, cyber-bullying and disciplinary problems contributing to a large percentage of suicides.

People should keep an eye out for strange behaviours in youths, said Mr Seymour.

"They all go through phases, but certain behaviours can be warning signs," he said.

"Decreased sleeping, failing grades, anti-social behaviour and self harming can all be signs of suicidal behaviour.

"Reaching out to these kids is really the only way we can encourage them to talk about their feelings and get the help they really need."

The report by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian said the suicide of the sub-teen child was the first in that age bracket since reporting of child deaths began in 2004.



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