Mental health experts say suicide treatment in Australian hospitals is inconsistent, and people trying to get help are often dismissed and misunderstood.
Concerns have also been raised that suicidal patients are being discharged from hospitals too early, or not admitted at all.
A new study, conducted by mental health charity SANE Australia and researchers from the University of New England, observed Australians who have attempted suicide.
SANE’s suicide prevention manager Sarah Coker said for every person who took their own life, it was estimated that 20 more people had also attempted suicide.
Ms Coker said people who have attempted suicide did not always get the complete care they needed and took their own lives after seeing a health professional.
“I think unfortunately we don’t really hear about that… most people wouldn’t find that acceptable,” she said.
People feel they are not being taken seriously
The study also found 80 per cent of the patients who had attempted suicide said they had had a negative experience in hospital.
Some were turned away at the emergency department while others were discharged from hospital before they felt ready to leave.
“We still had a number of people who described negative experiences when they went to hospital and that was sometimes around the feeling that they perhaps weren’t taken seriously and weren’t able to be admitted, or that they were admitted but felt that they were discharged quite quickly,” Ms Coker said.
She said that made those people less likely to get help.
“If they’re scared that the reaction is going to be judgmental or negative, or not very helpful, they’re even less likely to talk about it and less likely to seek help and I think that’s why it’s so important that we try and break down some of those myths and stereotypes around people who attempt suicide.”