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The relationship between mental health reforms and general population suicide rates in Australia over the past three and a half decades: 1987-2021.

Psychiatry Research 2024 March 29
Nearly 3,000 Australians tragically end their lives by suicide each year, underscoring a major national public health challenge with substantial socio-economic ramifications. Australia's National Mental Health Plans (NMHPs) aim to improve mental health and reduce suicide rates. This study investigates their effectiveness by analyzing how age-standardized suicide rates across Australian jurisdictions have fluctuated alongside the implementation of five NMHPs from 1987 to 2021. Findings reveal mixed impacts, with some plans linked to decreases and others associated with increases in suicide rates across different periods and regions. Notably, the recent decline in 2020 requires careful consideration amidst COVID-19 pandemic influences. These insights not only provide valuable evidence for shaping future mental health policies and initiatives but also for future health services research.

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