How many did floods really kill?
LOCKYER Valley MP Ian Rickuss says he will use parliamentary question time to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding a potentially alarming rise in flood-related suicides in the region.
Several sources claim more than 20 people in flood-affected areas may have taken their own lives in the wake of the disaster and amid subsequent insurance disputes.
Both Queensland Police Service and the Queensland Coroners Office have declined to release statistics relating to deaths by suicide in 2011.
Mr Rickuss said if the numbers claimed were accurate, the issue needed to be investigated and addressed.
"I'm so concerned about this issue that I will raise the question in Parliament with a question on notice," he said.
"I know of many families under stress and I implore people to seek help."
The MP will call on the Queensland Coroner to provide figures about suicide-related deaths in the region since the January natural disasters.
Twenty-two people died in the floods in January, but as the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry continues, anecdotal evidence suggests the human toll of the disaster is still mounting.
As manager of Ipswich's Business Enterprise Centre, Tony Axford has dealt with distraught business owners.
"There's been some anecdotal evidence that people have taken their lives," Mr Axford said.
"It's one of those things that's not pushed out there but there have been people in the Lockyer Valley and Somerset who just haven't been able to cope.
"I believe that if someone has lost their house and their business and they're fighting (insurance companies) on two fronts, that obviously has a huge impact."
He fears as many as 20 people may have taken their own lives as a result of the impact of the floods and their aftermath, following hard on the heels of the global financial crisis.
A Small Business Advisory Service officer, Deborah Ribinskas, said she knew of 12 suicides in the Lockyer and Somerset areas.
"It's policy in Queensland that this issue isn't discussed. I don't think it helps.
"I don't think we should ignore that it's happening ... we can't just assume that if this is just glossed over all of this will magically go away."
Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones has witnessed first-hand the increase in mental health concerns in his region.
"I've dealt with people all day and night since January 10," he said.
"The slightest little thing can put them over the edge."
Lifeline Community Care Officer Debbie Olsen has co-ordinated her organisation's community recovery response in the region.
"We have come across increasing numbers of people who are showing suicidal tendencies," Ms Olsen said.
She fully supports Mr Rickuss' move to bring the issue of suicide into the public arena.
"I'm all for it being aired, it needs to be talked about.
"One of the important factors in suicide prevention is awareness of the signs and symptoms.
"When it's brushed under the carpet, nobody is intervening."
If you feel you need help, please contact Lifeline's 24-hour crisis support line on 13 11 14.