Media Release: Shocking Increase in Female Suicidality Preventable. Healing Childhood Trauma Is The Missing Link | Youth Insearch


Tue, 17/01/2023 - 00:00


Newsletter, Media Release, Announcements

17 January 2022 

Shocking increase in suicidality rate for females can be prevented - healing childhood trauma is the missing link 

If young people across NSW struggling with mental health issues do not have access to trauma-informed programs which acknowledges childhood trauma, there will be little movement in suicide rates according to CEO Youth Insearch Stephen Lewin


“We recognise the NSW Government’s work in this space, and although suicide causes such as anxiety and depression due to world events and social media pressures must be considered, they do not tell the full story of youth suicide in this state. Approximately 20% of young Australians accessing mental health services experience complex trauma because of three or more adverse life events. These young people are often referred to as the missing middle, but they are actually the forgotten middle.  Young people, often forgotten by the traditional government model, find these service methods confronting, and will likely not heal as a result,”  Mr Lewin said. 


The comments come following the release of NSW suicide data, and statements from Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor calling for NSW Health to work with schools and community organisations to find ways to tackle the issue. 


Whilst suicide rates for males has reduced, the rate of suicidality in females has almost doubled (40%). The figures reveal an end to an overall rise which has occurred over the last 15 years. 


“These figures do not capture those struggling with childhood trauma such as  family breakdown, abuse, death of family and friends, and bullying, and who are unable or unwilling to approach government services for help. Experiencing childhood trauma increases the risk of suicide - the greater the trauma, the greater the risk.” 


“Youth Insearch specialises in a trauma-informed peer to peer model, supported by clinical services. We do not ask young people what is wrong with them, but rather what has happened to them.  Through healing past trauma, we can empower the forgotten middle, and guide them back onto a positive life path. While Professor Guastella makes a valid point within the Daily Telegraph this week; that social contagion amongst peers can increase risk of self-harm and suicide, at Youth Insearch we utilise that influence of peers to create a healthy support network of young people with lived experience to share healthy and safe strategies to reduce psychological distress and provide social connection. ”  Mr Lewin said. 


Mr Lewin is a past participant of the Youth Insearch program, becoming a peer leader,a Youth Insearch staff member before being appointed as the CEO.  His journey as a young person led to drug addiction and homelessness before being referred to Youth Insearch


Youth Insearch continues to lobby the state and federal government to fund a trauma-informed peer-to-peer model to support the existing headspace service. 


Visit the Youth Insearch website to download the executive summary of The Forgotten Middle Report. 



For media enquiries, please contact: 


Tammy Wayne-Elliot 

Fifty Acres 

T: 0414 428 440 


Interview opportunities available with Mr Stephen Lewin, CEO, Youth Insearch


Biography - Stephen Lewin: 

Stephen Lewin joined Youth Insearch as General Manager in December 2014 and was appointed CEO for Youth Insearch in November 2019.  

Stephen also brings his experience as a former Youth Insearch participant. Committed to a career creating public value, Stephen previously worked with the NSW Government for 19 years, including senior roles in accommodation and respite, community support teams and home care. He is a public-sector manager who throughout his career has delivered services to society’s most vulnerable people.  


Through practice and executive education, Stephen has built a reputation of implementing lasting change, through organisational culture assessment and transformation. Stephen holds an Executive MBA from the University of Wollongong and Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management from Flinders University.