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‘It’s horrifying’: State government targets zero suicide deaths with $90-million plan

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New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has set a target of zero deaths by suicide, unveiling a $90-million support package.

Anybody admitted to a New South Wales hospital following a suicide attempt will be given follow-up care and support, as part of a new state government initiative.

Those in urgent need of help can seek assistance at designated “cafes” which employ trained mental health workers, rather than going to emergency departments.

Two to three people take their lives every day in New South Wales and suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 44, a statistic Premier Berejiklian says is “horrifying”.

“We have a ‘towards zero’ policy for the road toll… but to have so many people lose their life because of mental health issues on a daily basis isn’t acceptable,” she tells Ray Hadley.

“When we thought about what target to put, how could you not put any other target but zero?

The government’s plan will also give Australians in rural and regional areas more mental health services.

Ray says we must “normalise mental health” and look at it the same way we would look at treating a physical illness.

“There can’t be a stigma attached to it as there has been in the past.”

Click PLAY below for the full interview with Premier Gladys Berejiklian

Following his interview with the Premier, Ray was sent a heartbreaking email from a listener who recently lost his son to suicide.

“Four weeks ago today we lost our 26-year-old son to suicide in regional New South Wales,” he writes.

The devastated father reveals his son ignored requests to seek help and didn’t access available mental health services.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” he says.

“My heart goes out to you. I just can’t imagine where you are at the moment four weeks down the track,” says Ray.

Click PLAY below to hear the emailer’s heartbreaking message

Those in need of help can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.