Suicide and self-harm
Message: Suicide is a major public health issue that kills more than 3,000 Australians in a typical year.
Breakdown: 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. The 2017 rate of 12.6 deaths per 100,000 was 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.
Message: More than eight people die each day in Australia by suicide
Breakdown: 3,128 people taking their own lives in Australia in 2017, equates to 8.6 deaths a day. On average, a person who died by suicide in 2017 lost 34.5 years from their life.
Message: Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women
Breakdown: 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).
Message: The largest increase in suicide deaths were recorded in QLD and NSW
Breakdown: QLD reported the largest increase with 804 deaths last year compared with 674 in 2016. ACT recorded an increase with 58 suicide deaths. New South Wales and Western Australia also recorded increases in deaths due to suicide. Slight decreases in suicides rates were recorded for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
Message: Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44
Breakdown: In 2017, suicide was the leading cause of death among people aged between 15-44 years, and the second leading cause of death among those 45-54 years of age. Those aged 45-49 showed the highest age-specific death rate for suicide in 2017, as well as the highest rate increase from 2016. Suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under the age of 45 years.
Message: There was a 10 per cent increase in the number of deaths by suicide among children between five and 17
Breakdown: 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.
Message: In 2017 suicide was a leading cause of premature mortality in Australia
Breakdown: Suicide accounts for a high proportion of deaths among younger people. Suicide accounted for over one-third of deaths (36 per cent) among people aged 15-24 years of age, and over a quarter of deaths (30.9 per cent) among those aged 25-34 years. There were 108,081 years of life lost to intentional self-harm in 2017 (see explanatory notes 40-43). On average, a person who died by suicide in 2017 lost 34.5 years from their life.
Message: The highest suicide rate among men is in the age group 85 and over. For females it is women aged 45 to 49
Breakdown: 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 rate of suicide was in the 45-49 age group, while the over 85-year age group had the lowest rate in sharp contrast to males. Excluding males aged 85 years and over, the age-specific deaths rates were the highest in middle-aged males aged between 40-44 years and 45-49 years, both greater than 30 deaths per 100,000 males.
Suicide accounted for 19.5 per cent of all male deaths for 40-44 years and 14.0 per cent of all male deaths for 45-49 years. The age-specific suicide rate for males was lowest in the 15-19 year age group (13.9 deaths per 100,000 males), yet suicide accounted for 36.4 per cent of all deaths in that age group.
Message: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice as likely to die by suicide
Breakdown: In 2017, 165 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons died as a result of suicide, with a standardised death rate of 25.5 deaths per 100,000 persons. This represents a slight increase from 2016, where there were 162 suicide deaths and a standardised death rate of 25.1.
Deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males typically represent the vast majority of Indigenous suicide deaths and this trend continued in 2017, with 75.8 per cent of all Indigenous suicide deaths attributed to males.
In 2017, suicide remained the leading cause of death for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children and young people, accounting for 40 per cent of all Indigenous child deaths. Those aged 15-17 contributed to 94.4 per cent of all suicide deaths in young Indigenous people. When considering gender differences, 91.6 per cent of Indigenous male youth suicides were aged 15-17.
The age-specific death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people was 10.1 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to 2.0 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous persons.
Message: In 2017, the ABS released data relating to comorbidities, with 80% of suicide deaths having comorbidities mentioned as co-occurring factors.
Breakdown: Mood disorders (including depression) were the most common comorbid factor associated with suicide, reported in 43 per cent of all suicides, followed by drug and alcohol use disorders (29.5 per cent). Anxiety was associated with 17.5 per cent of suicide deaths. Alcohol and other drugs were found in the blood at the time of death in 14.9 per cent of suicide deaths.