Suicide Statistics and Data in Australia 2019

We would like to acknowledge the work done to compile this information by Life in Mind  (https://lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/about-suicide/suicide-data/suicide-facts-and-stats)
Please note this will be updated as new data comes to hand. The Causes of Death provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is updated annually in November.
When referring to or talking about statistics, it is really important to remember that every number represents a person, a loved one, a community member. Research undertaken by COAG Health Council identified that 89% of people know someone who had attempted and 85% knew of someone who had died by suicide, so we need to acknowledge and consider the lived experience of each and every person we meet..
The reasons people take their own life are complex and often there is no single reason why a person attempts or dies by suicide. We therefore recognise stressors and life events and the impact these have on people.

General suicide data 2019 – ABS (released 2020)

  • In 2019 there were 3,318 deaths by suicide (12.9 per 100,000), 9.0 deaths each day.
  • Estimated a further 78,000 people made a suicide attempt.
  • Median age of death due to suicide 43.9 yrs for males and 44 yrs for females.
  • 6% increase for suicide deaths in 2018.
  • Over the last 10 years, number of deaths has increased by 33%
  • In 2018 there were 3,038 deaths by suicide (12.7 per 100,000)
  • In 2017 there were 3,128 deaths by suicide (12.7 per 100,000).
  • Research suggests about 135 people are exposed to each suicide death

Factors

  • Male deaths are more than 3 times that for females 75.4% or 2,502 deaths
  • Problems with spousal relationships was the most common psychological risk factor, 25.9% of suicide deaths associated with this. 27% of men and 22.45% of woman
  • Previous self-harm reported in 20.7% all suicide deaths and 30.5% of female deaths.
  • Previous suicide attempt; a person surviving a suicide attempt is at a heightened risk of a future attempt, particularly in first 6 months after attempt was made
  • Mood disorders, including depression, associated factor for 40.6% of suicides

Age

  • Highest age specific suicide rate between 45-49 (19.7 per 100,000)
  • Highest rate for females aged 40-44 yrs
  • Highest rate for males aged 85 yrs and older (32.3 per 100,000)
  • Second highest rate for males is 45-49 yrs old
  • 7% suicide deaths were between 30 – 59 yrs old.
  • More than half of all suicides in 2019 (54.7) occurred between ages of 30-59 yrs

 

Children and youth

  • Suicide leading cause of death for people aged 15-49 yrs
  • There were 96 child suicides aged 5-17 yrs
  • Child suicide rate for males 63 deaths (3 per 100,000) females (33 deaths) 1.7 per 100,000
  • Over 80% child suicides occurred between age 15-17yrs
  • NT highest child suicide rate 2015-2

States and Territories

Increases in numbers of suicide deaths were recorded between 2018 and 2019 for all states except Queensland

  • NSW, VIC, QLD account for almost three-quarters of registered suicides
  • NT highest suicide death rate
  • Deaths by suicide – NSW 937, VIC 717, QLD 784, SA 251, WA 418, Tas 108, NT 50, ACT 53

Historical Information

Suicide rates in Australia peaked in 1963 (17.5 per 100,000), dropped to 11.3 per 100,000 in 1984, and back to 14.6 per 100,000 in 1997. Rates have been lower since 1997. The suicide rate for persons in 2018 was 12.2 per 100,000.

Children and youth historical information

  • Mid-1980’s suicide rates for 15-19 yrs males rose and peaked at 21 per 100,000 in 1988.
  • During 1990’s suicide rates for 15-19 yrs males (17-19 per 100,000) with a peak in 1991.
  • Rates declined since 1990’s.
  • Suicide rates for 15-19 yrs females also fluctuate, with a peak in 2012 (8.3 per 100,000) and lowest in 2008 (3.6 per 100,000).

Comorbidity and suicide

  • Where suicide is listed as primary cause of death, a comorbidity is presence of one or more diseases or disorders as noted by coroner on death certificate.
  • Mood disorders (including depression) reported in 43.9% suicides.
  • Anxiety and stress related disorders in 17.6% suicides
  • Alcohol and other drugs found in blood of 21.5% all suicide, largest factor increase since 2017 (14.9%).

Worldwide – World Health Organisation

  • Close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year, one every 40 seconds
  • Suicide 1.4% all deaths worldwide, 18th leading cause of death
  • Annual global age standardized suicide rate 10.5 per 100,000 – Australia now 12.6
  • In Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, highest rates suicide for both men and women
  • Eastern Mediterranean Region and Central Asia have lowest suicide rates
  • Nearly 30% all suicides occur in India and China (Befrienders Worldwide, 2019)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

  • Total of 195 ATSI deaths by suicide (27.1 per 100,000) being 129 males and 40 females
  • Suicide is 5th leading cause of death for ATSI as compared to 13th for non indigenous
  • 2nd leading cause of death for males and 7th leading cause of death for females
  • Male suicides 70.3%
  • WA consistently recorded highest death rate over last 10 years
  • Leading cause of death 15-44 yrs (83.2%), 3 time higher than non-indigenous people
  • Male suicide rate peaks between 25-34 yrs (72.5 per 100,000)
  • Suicide was leading cause of death ATSI children between 2015-2019

LGBTI in 2020

  • LGBTI people are more likely to attempt suicide in their lifetime than those that do not identify as LGBTIQ, specifically: –
  • LGBTI people aged 16-27 yrs of age 5 x more likely to attempt suicide than general population (16% as opposed to 3.2%)
  • Transgender and gender diverse people over 18 yrs of age nearly 18 x more likely to attempt suicide than general population (48.1%)
  • People with an Intersex variation over 16 yrs nearly 5 x more likely to attempt suicide than general population

Suicide Attempt Statistics for LGBTI Population

LGBTI people are more likely to attempt suicide in their lifetime than those that do not identify as LGBTIQ, specifically: –

  • LGBTI 16-27 yrs 5 x more likely to attempt suicide than general population (16% as opposed to 3.2%)
  • Transgender and gender diverse people over 18 yrs nearly 18 x more likely to attempt suicide than general population (48.1%)
  • People with an Intersex variation over 16 yrs nearly 5 x more likely to attempt suicide than general population
  • 16% LGBTI young people aged 16-27 yrs have attempted suicide
  • 8% of bisexual people aged 18 yrs and over have attempted suicide
  • 1% Transgender and gender diverse people aged 18 yrs and over have attempted suicide
  • 19% people with an Intersex variation aged 16 yrs and over had attempted suicide on the
  • basis of issues related their Intersex status
  • 8% Same-Gender Attracted and Gender Diverse young people between 14-21yrs have attempted suicide, 18% had experienced verbal abuse, and 37% of those had experienced physical abuse

Groups at risk of suicide – remember anybody/anywhere can be at risk of suicide

  • Young people – more than 40% all deaths 15-24 yrs / children who experience traumatic childhood events or known to child protection system particularly vulnerable
  • Rural and remote – over 40% of suicides occur outside of metropolitan area
  • Self harm – almost 1 in 3 people who died by suicide in 2017 had history of self harm
  • People with a previous history of attempted suicide.
  • Mental disorders such as major depression, psychotic illnesses and eating disorders are associated with an increased risk of suicide especially after discharge from hospital or when treatment has been reduced. 64.9% suicides the person had experience of a mental or behavioural disorder.
    • Borderline personality disorder – risk is 45 x greater than general population
    • Anorexia Nervosa – risk is 31 x greater
    • Major depression – risk is 20 x greater
    • Bipolar disorder – risk is 17 x greater
    • Schizophrenia – risk is 13 x greater
  • Alcohol or drug misuse – 29.4% who died had a disorder
  • Refugee and asylum seekers – males 33 per 100,000 as opposed to 18.7 per 100.000 general population
  • Males are around 3 times more likely to die by suicide than females.
  • Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander People suicide rate is twice as high as non-indigenous people.
  • Disability and chronic health issues – 47% people who died by suicide had a physical disease
  • Australian Defence Force veterans – 18% higher suicide rate than general population – male veterans under 30 – double rate of general population / female veterans more than double