The number of people committing suicides in Australia has hit a decade-high.  It has now become the number one cause of premature deaths in the country.

This has been revealed in the latest statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABB) on Tuesday. It said the suicide rates jumped to 12 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014, which is the highest in the last 10 years.

Commenting on the trend, Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel said Australia is facing a grave national emergency and the federal government must act urgently, reports News Corp.

“We as a community cannot accept this needless loss of life,” Shmigel said.

Lifeline will be launching a campaign to urge the federal government to double its funding for prevention of suicides.

Among the diseases that kill people prematurely, heart disease, dementia, stroke, lung cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases account for more than one third of all deaths.

ABS Health and Vital Statistics Section director James Eynstone-Hinkins mentioned the alarming spurt in dementia as a major killer. He noted that dementia has surpassed strokes as the second leading cause of death since 2013.

It has been estimated that in every 40 seconds, someone commits suicide in some part of the world. In Australia, suicide is a leading cause of death in the younger age groups of 15-24 and 25-44 years.

On the fatal motivation that drives people towards suicides, psychiatrists say even though it looks sudden, the reasons can be traced to a complex web of risk factors that date back to childhood.

Some of the factors are poor problem solving skills and an urge for perfectionism. In the Australian context, the risk factors include indigenous status, isolation, remoteness and access to lethal means of suicide.

According to an expert, in Australia, suicidal prevalence is higher in women. In 2013, one fourth of the 2,522 actual suicides were committed by women. The rates of hospitalisation for intentional self-harm had females leading  men by 40 percent, reports Genre.