Media releases

Call to all Australians to tackle suicide as rate reaches 10-year high

26 Sep 2018

A total of 3,128 people took their own lives in Australia in 2017 representing an increase of 9.1 per cent over the previous year, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This equates to more than 8.5 deaths a day with 108,081 years of life lost.

On average, a person who died by suicide in 2017 lost 34.5 years from their life.

The 2017 rate of 12.6 deaths per 100,000 is equal to 2015 with the highest recorded rate in the past 10 years. A rate of 10.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 was reported in 2008.

“These figures are in line with a decade-long upward trend in the national suicide rate,” said Beyond Blue clinical adviser Dr Stephen Carbone.

“Suicide is complex and the circumstances and conditions that lead to each death are unique.

“That is why we need a multi-pronged approach that includes awareness, prevention and early intervention.

“Getting people timely access to the right services where and when they need them is also vital.

“We are encouraged by the recent surge in investment by Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to address shortfalls in services, fund education initiatives, and boost intervention programs for high risk populations.

 “Because we all have a role to play when it comes to combating suicide.”

Beyond Blue continues to expand its suicide prevention and early intervention programs which now include:

  • Collaborating with other leading mental health organisations in the #YouCanTalk campaign to assure people you don’t have to be a mental health professional to ask if somebody is thinking about suicide and enable everyone to have a role in tackling the suicide rate
  • The Way Back Support Service for those who need support during the three months following an attempted suicide. The program – currently operating at seven sites – has received $37.6 million Commonwealth funding over four years for up to 25 sites nationally
  • The BeyondNow suicide prevention app allows people to design their own safety plan, including who to call and what to do in a suicidal crisis. This has been downloaded 58,000 times with 20,000 suicide safety plans completed since its launch in 2016
  • 120,000 visitors per month to the Beyond Blue online forums to discuss mental health issues safely and anonymously with others who have similar experiences.
  • The Beyond Blue Support Service received 112,000 calls; 53,400 chats; and 8700 emails in the 2017-18 financial year


There were 3,128 suicide deaths in Australia in 2017, an increase of 9.1 per cent from 2,866 in 2016.

Three times as many men as women took their lives in 2017. There were 2,348 suicide deaths among males (a rate of 19.1 deaths per 100,000) compared to 780 female deaths (a rate of 6.2 deaths per 100,000).

Suicide remains the leading cause of death among people aged between 15-44 years.

There was a 10 per cent increase in the number of deaths among children between five and 17 since 2016. Suicide remains the leading cause of death in this age group, with 98 deaths in 2017.

Last year, 165 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people died by suicide. In 2016, there were 162 suicide deaths among Indigenous Australians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice as likely (at a rate of 25.5 deaths per 100,000) to die by suicide.

State and Territories:

The largest increase in suicide deaths were recorded in QLD, NSW and ACT.

QLD reported the largest increase with 804 deaths last year compared with 674 in 2016.

ACT recorded the highest percentage increase in suicide deaths with a 107 per cent rise, which equates to 58 deaths.

Suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under the age of 45 years.

The highest suicide rate among men was those aged 85 years and older, with 32.8 deaths per 100,000 people.

For females, the highest age-rate for suicide is in the 45-49 age group.

Mental health experts are available 24/7 via the Beyond Blue Support Service 1300 22 4636 or for online chat at