Cancer is a disease that can transform how a person lives their life. From breast cancer to asbestos-caused mesothelioma, the changes can be both negative or positive.
However, one of the unwanted side effects of cancer is the increased likelihood of suicide and mental illness. The government is not dim to this fact and has implemented new programmes to address suicide in the community.
Cancer linked to suicide rates
Depression and other forms of mental illness are typically associated with suicide. However, there is evidence to show that cancer sufferers and even survivors can impact the rate of suicide.
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health found that suicide rates in cancer patients was twice as high as in the general population. The results show that between 1973 and 2002, the cancer rate was 31.4 per cent for 100,000 person compared with 16.7 per cent in the general public.
Yet it's not just cancer sufferers either, survivors have a much higher risk of suicide as well. A survey conducted by the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study found a higher rate of suicidal thoughts in cancer survivors than others.
Speaking to the 2015 World Congress of Psycho-Oncology, Christopher Recklitis from the Harvard Medical School pointed out that in many cases these thoughts occur even when there are no obvious signs of depression.
New South Wales government
The Premier State is making a concerted effort to support people at risk of suicide. The $8 million suicide prevention program will run over four years and will offer those most at risk with additional local support.
NSW Minister for Mental Health Pru Goward said that non-government organisations in NSW can submit proposals for services of programs.
"Our dedicated NGO partners already provide invaluable and crucial support to local communities. This suicide prevention fund will empower further development of innovative and localised frontline programs and services," Ms Goward said.
The prevention fund will focus on initiatives that aim to care for people at risk of suicide in their local community. However, the initiatives can focus on any point in the system, from early intervention through to crisis management.
"Research shows that a large percentage of people at risk of suicide and self-harm have had no contact with traditional health services. That is why the NSW Government has committed dedicated suicide prevention funding to find new, local ways to help people in need in their community." said Ms Goward.
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