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COAG to consider suicide prevention system

A national suicide and self-harm monitoring system could be established in the aftermath of an emergency mental health summit.

An alarming 9.1 per cent increase in Australians taking their own lives last year prompted federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to call the meeting held this week. Some 3128 people died in Australia in 2017, figures show.

Developing a system to help communities respond to potential mental health issues was a key recommendation from the summit.

Suicide prevention will also be raised as a priority at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting and elevated to a whole-of-government issue.

Mr Hunt said his department would work with the National Mental Health Commission to develop a system that aims to stop suicide and self-harm.

"I have committed to working across portfolios and state and federal governments to ensure that suicide prevention is on everyone's radar," Mr Hunt said.

"Our government remains committed to reducing the impact of suicide on our community and ensuring Australians of all ages have access to the support they need to face life's challenges."

Suicide prevention advocate Gerry Georgatos said tackling the crisis was complex and multiple issues had to be considered.

"To reduce suicide we must reduce not only the number of attempted suicides, but also the hospital admission rate for self-harm, the rate of domestic violence, the prevalence of bullying, and the least discussed tragedy in the nation - child sexual abuse," he said.

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© AAP 2018