Content warning: This article deals with suicide and may be triggering for some readers. If you or anyone you know is suffering, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
This week, we learned that suicide remains the leading cause of death among young Australians.
Yes, rates have fallen when you look to last year, and the year before, but the fact still remains: Suicide accounted for 2,866 deaths in 2016, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.
Read that again: 2,866 people died last year as a result of deliberate self-harm. This number represents more than a third of those who died aged 15-24, AAP reports, and more than a quarter of those aged between 25 and 34.
“We are still seeing almost eight people die every day from suicide,” Executive director of Lifeline Research Foundation Alan Woodward told AAP. “The statistics are heartbreaking. Each of those numbers represents someone who has died.”
As the numbers swirl around us and never-quite-stick, there is one picture – also making news this week – that says it all.
The image – of a young woman, smiling to the camera, taken seven hours before she attempted to take her own life – shows how young people are struggling and we would never, ever guess it.
For Milly Smith – the woman in front of the camera – it’s borderline personality disorder. A condition that means her “mood can switch to suicidal in seconds over the slightest trigger”, which was left undiagnosed for far too long.