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  • Aus suicide rate hits decade-high

    Author: AAP

Lifeline wants the federal government to double funding for suicide prevention, calling it a national emergency.

The number of people taking their own lives has reached a decade-high in Australia.

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Suicide is the leading cause of premature deaths in Australia, the latest statistics show.

Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel said Australia is facing a growing national suicide emergency and the federal government must take urgent action.

"We as a community cannot accept this needless loss of life," Mr Shmigel said.

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Lifeline will launch a campaign later this week calling on the federal government to double funding for suicide prevention, he said.

The suicide rate increased to 12 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014, the highest recorded in the past 10 years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in Australia and accounted for one in seven male deaths and one in eight female deaths in 2014.

ABS Health and Vital Statistics Section director James Eynstone-Hinkins said diseases such as dementia have increased as the population has aged.

Dementia surpassed strokes as Australia's second leading cause of death in 2013, he noted.

The top five causes - heart disease, dementia, stroke, lung cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases - account for more than one third of all deaths.

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

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