Friday September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, a reminder to us all that there are important signs to look out for, and important steps we can take to reduce the risk of self-harm and suicide.
One of the most significant measures to reduce the incidence of suicide was former Prime Minister John Howard’s decision to ban and then to buy back 600,000 semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre back in April 1996.
The gun buy-back cut the number of firearms in Australia by 20 per cent, and that in turn led to an astonishing 74 per cent decline in the number of suicides from firearms, according to new research by economist Christine Neill.
Of course, many suicides do not involve guns, but those statistics represent 200 lives saved each year, simply because guns are not as readily available in Australian homes as they once were.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 5 September 2010. Image: http://bit.ly/975WLi