“Adolescence is a time in life that harbours many risks and dangers, but also one that presents great opportunities for sustained health and wellbeing.” The Lancet: 2007

The Challenge

Each year globally more than 800,000 people die by suicide, and for each death there are many more attempts. The impact on families and communities is devastating.

Alone, these figures should stand out to us as a global pandemic stands out, but suicide is rarely prioritised as a major public health problem.

Here in Australia about 3000 people take their own lives each year, and of these some 400 are young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Their lives should be just beginning.

Youth Suicide Awareness distressed daughter with mother

The Goal

Studies show that raising awareness, particularly at the local level, leads to significantly lower rates of suicide attempts and suicide deaths.

Increasing the competence of teachers, parents, police officers and the community at large in responding to at-risk young people serves to increase that awareness.

Our Hope

We must acknowledge the tragedy, and respond to it.

Youth suicide is the last taboo. It is difficult to talk about within our community, yet it is likely that each of us has been impacted in some way by the death of a young person by suicide. It is more common than deaths by road accident in this age range.

​Expert opinion says that what is needed to address the high incidence of youth suicide is a youth specific response.

The Evidence


Studies have shown that community-based activities including awareness-raising when delivered as part of a single program will significantly lower rates of suicide attempts and suicide deaths among young people.

Our programs have been designed to increase adults’ perceived competence and confidence in responding to at-risk young people, and improve the likelihood of young people seeking help from an adult or helping a peer.

Reference: Orygen (National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health): “Raising the bar for youth suicide prevention.”

Reports (PDF) on youth suicide from:

Relationships Australia


World Health Organisation – Preventing Suicide

While there is a great deal of available literature on youth suicide, these provide excellent overviews.

YSA is an initiative of The Rotary Club of Brighton North and the clubs within our district (9800). Read more.