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Tara Cosoleto

'Troubling' increase in Victorian deaths by suicide

Victoria's mental health system must be reformed to address the rising number of suicide deaths in the state, services say.

There were 756 deaths by suicide last year, a nine per cent increase on 2021 numbers, according to the latest coroner's report published on Monday.

It is the highest number of deaths the court has seen since it started recording suicide data in 2000.

More people had taken their lives in the later part of 2022, with about 65 deaths per month between August and December compared to 58 per month earlier in the year.

There was also a spike in people aged 65 and over dying by suicide, a 32 per cent increase on 2021 numbers.

"These numbers are very troubling," State Coroner John Cain told ABC Radio Melbourne on Monday.

"With every one of these suicides, there's family and friends sitting there that are deeply impacted and traumatised."

In Victoria, all suspected suicides are required to be reported to the coroner for investigation.

Social isolation, mental health issues, substance abuse, familial conflict and financial pressures remain common stressors in cases of suicide.

It was also difficult for people to access and navigate the state's mental health system, Judge Cain said.

He encouraged the Victorian government to implement "at pace" the remaining recommendations from the state's mental health royal commission.

"We need to make sure that the professional supports and assistance are there when people need them so it's not a disheartening exercise," Judge Cain said.

"We really need to make it easy for people, for family and friends, to be able to assist and guide somebody into the system... so we can try and drive this number down."

Beyond Blue chief executive Georgie Harman agreed the system needed to be reformed quickly.

"We need sufficient investment in the right reforms and new approaches, as well as bolstering up services that work," she told AAP in a statement.

"It's vital that governments, the sector and communities address the social determinants that we know have a profound impact on mental health and suicide."

The coroners court is continuing to investigate the majority of suicides that happened last year.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

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