Upset over suicide coverage

New Mental Health Commissioner Tim Marney says he is frustrated by the lack of outrage over WA’s suicide rate by media which report on celebrities killing themselves but not everyday people.

In an interview published in the latest monthly edition of the independent industry publication Medical Forum WA, Mr Marney said the community should be outraged that suicides outnumber road deaths in WA.

“But it’s taboo to talk about it. That needs to change,” he said. “In 2012 on average we lost more than one person a day in WA a day. That’s not right.”

Mr Marney said media should be more open to talking about suicide, not individual cases but “the prevalence and the devastation it causes”.bigstock_I_Disagree_904741

He noted the attention high-profile cases attracted.

In a reference to the recent deaths of television personality Charlotte Dawson and Mick Jagger’s fashion-designer girlfriend L’Wren Scott, Mr Marney said: “If it’s a TV presenter or rock star’s girlfriend, it’s fine to report everything.”

“People walk around saying ‘isn’t it really sad’, but who is saying that for the one person every day who takes their own life here and the family that suffers for the rest of their lives. Quite frankly, the lack of outrage pisses me off.”

This article first appeared on ‘The West Australian’ on 16 May 2014.

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