Despair
Photo: John Gass  / Daily News
Despair Photo: John Gass / Daily News John Gass /TWE100412despair

Our region has highest self-harm rate in Australia

THE Bundaberg and surrounding central region has the highest rate of intentional self-harm in Australia.

The most recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's Healthy Communities Report has highlighted the Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN catchment as having the highest rates of hospitalisations due to intentional self-harm in the nation, with 240 per 100,000 people being admitted per year.

Headspace Hervey Bay centre manager Kevin Hillebrand is one of the services on the front line on the region's high mental illness rate, and said the high rate of intentional self-harm was not surprising.

"The young people Headspace helps (aged 12 to 25) are facing very unique pressures; the pressure to fit in and be 'cool', developmental changes, or they may not have positive support around them,” Mr Hillebrand said.

"When you add the regional element, it exacerbates the issue.

"For example if there are issues with mobility; if a person isn't able to afford and run a vehicle, or if you're in an area with high unemployment.”

Mr Hillebrand said through his job, he did see young people who were self-harming, and it was the job of Headspace not to diagnose, but to help assess what type of support was needed for each person.

"There is still a lot of stigma around mental health and although it has progressed, there is still a way to go,” he said.

"I meet young people that are remarkably brave, stoic, and I have an enormous amount of admiration for them, because it takes a lot of courage to seek help.”

If you need help, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.



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