EACH and every day last year eight people ended their lives by suicide, but Lifeline's Stephanie Robinson says communities can make a real difference to the heartbreak.
Last year 3046 Australians died by suicide and while that's 82 less than the year before, it's more than double the national road toll of 1145 deaths.
Of those who died, 76 per cent (2320 people) were male and the highest number of deaths fell into the 45-49 year old category, the data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday reveals.
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"Females attempt suicide more often than men do, but men often use a more lethal means and end up dying by suicide," Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Ms Robinson said.
The ABS also showed that NSW was the only state to record an increased number of suicides - from 880 in 2017 to 899 in 2018.
While relieved that the national suicide rate had dropped, Ms Robinson admits she expected it would have increased in this latest report.
"From our centre you certainly don't feel that there has been any decrease ... incidents of people suiciding and in distress has certainly increased in our region," she said.
"There has certainly been an increase in deaths in young people in our community, male and female."
Connectivity might sound like a buzz word or something you need for your computer, but Ms Robinson said it was absolutely vital to help stop depression, anxiety and mental health issues.
Not everyone who dies by suicide suffered mental illness, but 43.9 per cent did suffer depression and 17.6 per cent had anxiety.Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Stephanie Robinson
"Not everyone who dies by suicide suffered mental illness, but 43.9 per cent did suffer depression and 17.6 per cent had anxiety," she said.
Ms Robinson said communities need to work on connecting with each other - no matter whether it's through sport, social groups, projects or art.
"One of the biggest protection factors that a community needs is connection and an opportunity for connection," she said.
"Community connectedness is vital in ensuring the suicide rate continues to drop."
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As the drought hits the two-year mark in the region, Ms Robinson said she was deeply concerned about its impact on people's mental health.
"My concern is whether the stress and problems a long and continuing drought brings has contributed to the statistics increasing in NSW," she said.
"History has shown that men in particular in rural and remote communities are at a greater risk than their metropolitan counterparts.
"This needs to be something that all of the population are concerned with ... it really can impact anyone at any time."
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
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