Suicide and suicide prevention
There is no other way of dying which causes such dismay and which is such a burden for family members and a person's environment as suicide.
In 2016, 1,198 persons in Austria took their own lives. That is lower than in 2015 when there were 1,249 suicides. And the figures have been declining since the 1980s. Nevertheless, the number of suicide deaths is more than two and a half times as high as those who die in traffic accidents, for example. Suicide is one of the most common causes of death in both men and women up to the age of 50, and in the age group of 15-29 year-olds it is actually the second most common cause.
At least three to five family members are directly affected by each case of suicide - that means between 39,000 and 65,000 people in the last ten years alone. The relative decline in suicides since 1986 is much more noticeable in the case of women than in that of men.
The suicide prevention portal
The Austrian suicide prevention portal (http://www.suizid-praevention.gv.at/) provides information on the help which is available to three target groups:
- People who are considering suicide;
- people who are worried about others in relation to suicide, and
- persons who have lost people close to them due to suicide.
Alongside a clear presentation of crisis hotlines and offers of assistance, the website provides its visitors with tips for immediate help for themselves and others as well as practical instructions. In addition, there is also general information on the website about the issue of suicide, such as explanations of the most important myths surrounding suicide, as well as target group-specific information for women, men, young people and older people.
The portal is part of the Austrian suicide prevention programme SUPRA (Suicide Prevention Austria).
The national suicide prevention strategy (SUPRA)
Extending suicide prevention work formed part of the government programme for 2008-2013. The goal was to ensure the availability of lasting and high-quality suicide support in Austria in order to improve prevention and to further reduce the suicide rate.
In autumn 2012, the Austrian suicide prevention programme SUPRA was presented. The national prevention programme is the basis for the development of a national suicide prevention strategy.
Coordination office for suicide prevention
In order to realise the prevention measures, the Suicide Prevention Coordination Office was set up in 2012 at the government agency Gesundheit Österreich GmbH.
The most important tasks of the Coordination Office for Suicide Prevention include: The prioritisation of the measures proposed in SUPRA after an examination of their practicality;
- the pooling and further development of already ongoing measures for suicide prevention in the individual provinces in the interests of SUPRA;
- the development of long-term and high-quality national suicide reporting;
- the coordination of cross-sectoral and cross-ministerial cooperation. (30.10.2017)