Research linking suicide with birthdays in men has prompted calls to reach out for support in what can be a “very isolating period” for a “tremendous amount of people”.
Published by Swiss researchers, the study examined causes of death in over two million people across a 40 year period, and found men were 34 per cent more likely to take their own life on their birthday.
“It's concerning and alarming that this particular report has found there's a 34 per cent increase in [male] suicide that’s happening on people's particular birthdays, which I think is a really sad and unfortunate situation,” he said.
"Without being able to read the full report, birthdays can be a great time in somebody's life but can also be a very isolating time in somebody's life.
“This would suggest to me that this is an issue that we need to continue to work and educate people, give them a sense of connection and hope and educate people there are more options than ending your own life.”
With eight people losing their life to suicide each day in Australia – six of which are men – Schwass said it was an issue playing out far too often.
"We're committed to making sure that we inspire and empower people to give them options and alternatives outside of something that is irreversible and that causes unimaginable pain for people that are left behind,” he said.
“Puka Up fundamentally believe no one should be in a crisis before they ask for help, nor do we believe we have to wait for someone we care about to get into a crisis before we offer them help.
“By shifting the focus away from crisis and stress, and normalising mental health and emotional wellbeing, we’re actually addressing suicide because we’re normalising an issue that a tremendous amount people are dealing with on a daily basis.
“Our message to them is that you’re not alone, you’re not isolated, and there are a number of great organisations and some wonderful people who are just waiting for you to contact them.”
Visit Puka Up for further resources and information around maintaining positive mental health.
To speak with someone immediately, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If there is a life is in danger, call 000 or go directly to emergency services.