Women who self-harm increasing, data shows

THE number of women hospitalised with self-harm injuries has doubled over the past 15 years.

This is just one of the findings contained in the newly released Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour in Women issues and prevention discussion paper.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier this year shows 637 women killed themselves in 2013 compared to 1885 men.

The Suicide Prevention Australia document says women are more highly represented in non-fatal suicide behaviour than men, but are "far less visible" in prevention and education programs.

SPA chief executive Sue Murray said women needed to be "adequately represented in suicide prevention in this country".

"It is important to emphasise that a focus on women in no way diminishes the focus on men, youth and other risk groups that represent the highest proportion of suicide deaths in this country," she said.

"However, if we need additional investment in women's issues and prevention in addition to that (suicide) work, we are at risk of ignoring the potentially devastating trends in suicidal behaviour in women." 

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In their own words: Suicide survivors tell their stories to get us talking

"KNOWING that you're able to live what everyone else deems as a normal life, you can have a career, you can have children, you can have these negative things in your life and still be okay."

These are the words that prove people at risk of suicide can find the strength to hold onto life.

Sam, a young woman who first tried to kill herself while living in foster care, shares her story of living on the brink in a nine-minute video on YouTube.

There have been more than 1000 views of SANE Australia's Lessons for Life video since it was released on July 23.

The compelling documentary features the experiences of Sam and four others, who hope their words will increase empathy and understanding for people at risk of suicide.

Adam, a young man coming to terms with his battle against self-harm, says, "I've looked at things and thought 'How can I turn this lead into gold?'

"It's a way of reaching out to people and saying 'I had this experience, but it gets better'."

The video's subjects talk about not being able to discuss their thoughts with the people they loved and how that fed their feelings of isolation and destruction.

Lessons for Life researcher Sarah Coker said she hoped the video would reduce stigma associated with suicide and encourage people to seek help.

"Sometimes people feel like they won't be able to be helped or don't deserve to be helped, but this video shows how others have come through and got the help they needed," The SANE Australia suicide prevention manager said.

Check out the videos on SANE Australia's YouTube channel. 

- APN NEWSDESK


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