General suicide data 2018 – ABS (released 2019)

We would like to acknowledge the work done to compile this information by Life in Mind  (
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.

  • Total of 3,046 deaths by suicide (12.2 per 100,000) i.e. 8.3 deaths each day or 1.9% of all deaths recorded.
  • Estimated a further 78,000 people made a suicide attempt.
  • In 2017 there were 3,128 deaths (12.7 per 100,000).
  • In 2018 average of 8.3 deaths by suicide in Australia each day.
  • Research suggests about 135 people are exposed to each suicide death


Male deaths are more than 3 times that for females

  • 18.7 per 100,000 or 2,320 male deaths by suicide and 5.8 per 100,000 or 726 female deaths.
  • Suicide is 10th leading cause of death for males and 23rd leading cause for females.

Stressors for men

  • 71% men not in a relationship, 37% recently separated, 25% history of being a perpetrator of domestic violence
  • 56% unemployed, unable to work or retired
  • 51% had substance misuse
  • 41% experienced financial and housing stress


  • Young and middle-aged people have highest proportion of suicide.
  • 54.8% suicide deaths were between 30 – 59 yrs old.
  • Suicide accounted for over 38.4% of deaths among 15-24 years of age and 29.4% of deaths among people 25-34 years of age.
  • 105,730 years of life lost to suicide. Each person who died by suicide lost 36.7 years of life.
  • Age specific suicide rate highest in men aged 85 or above – been highest age group since 2011.
  • Age specific suicide rate highest in females aged 40-44 years age.
  • Highest age specific increase was within males aged 45-54 years and females 35-44 years.

States and Territories

  • All states and territories except NSW recorded decreases in number of registered deaths due to suicide from 2017 to 2018
  • 899 people died by suicide in NSW (684 males, 215 females), increase on 880 in 2017 being 29.5% all deaths by suicide in Australia
  • Number of suicide deaths was highest in NSW (899), followed by QLD (786), and VIC (593).
  • 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 lowering since 1997.
  • The suicide rate for persons in 2018 was 12.2 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

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

  • Total of 169 ATSI deaths by suicide (24.1 per 100,000) being 129 males and 40 females
  • Suicide is 2nd leading cause of death for ATSI males and 7th leading cause for ATSI females
  • Suicide is 5th leading cause of death for ATSI as compared to 12th for non-indigenous
  • Suicide accounted for over 5.5% of deaths amongst ATSI population as compared to 2% non-indigenous
  • WA highest death rate and NSW lowest
  • Leading cause of death 15-44 yrs over 3 x non-indigenous people
  • Leading cause of death 5-17 yrs – 26.5% all indigenous child deaths
  • 15-17 yrs – 69.2% all suicide deaths were young indigenous people
  • Females more than half (61.5%) of child suicide deaths

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

  • 16% LGBTI young people aged 16-27 yrs have attempted suicide
  • 27.8% of bisexual people aged 18 yrs and over have attempted suicide
  • 48.1% 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 14-21 yrs 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 x 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