Suicide and self-harm
Message: Suicide is complex and there is no single reason why a person takes their own life.1
Breakdown: Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of all suicides were associated with at least one psychosocial risk factor. Psychosocial risk factors include prior suicide attempts, relationships and financial stress.
In 2019, depression was associated with 37.9 per cent of all suicides in Australia. Anxiety was associated with 14.9 per cent of all suicides. Substance abuse was associated with 26.3 per cent of all suicides, and 30.6 per cent of male suicides.
Message: Suicide is a major public health issue. More than 3,000 people die by suicide in Australia each year.1
Breakdown: A total of 3,318 people took their own lives in Australia in 2019, at a rate of 12.9 deaths per 100,000. This represents an increase of 6 per cent from the previous year.
Over the decade since 2009, the number of deaths by suicide has increased by 33 per cent.
Message: More than nine people die each day in Australia by suicide.1
Breakdown: A suicide rate of 12.9 deaths per 100,000 in 2019 equates to 9.1 deaths a day.
Message: Every day in Australia, approximately seven men die by suicide.1
Breakdown: In 2019, an average of 6.9 men died by suicide every day across Australia. Three times as many men as women took their lives in 2019. There were 2,502 suicide deaths among males (a rate of 19.8 deaths per 100,000) compared to 816 female deaths (a rate of 6.3 deaths per 100,000).
Message: Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 491.
Breakdown: In 2019, suicide was the leading cause of death among people aged between 15-49 years, an increase in the age range of 15-44 from previous years, and the second leading cause of death among those 50-54 years of age.
Message: The highest proportion of deaths by suicide occur during mid-life1.
More than half of all suicide deaths in 2019 (54.7 per cent) occurred between the ages 30 and 59. The median age at death for suicide was 43.9 years of age, compared to 81.7 years of age for all deaths.
Message: Suicide is a significant cause of premature death in Australia1
Breakdown: Suicide represents a high proportion of deaths among younger people, accounting for over one-third of deaths for people aged 15 to 24 years.
Suicide accounts for the highest number of years of potential life lost among leading cause groups of conditions due to the higher proportion of deaths occurring within younger age groups. Conditions such as coronary heart disease account for more premature deaths than suicide, but fewer years of potential life lost.
On average, a person who died by suicide in 2019 lost 36.7 years from their life. Overall, suicide was estimated to account for 115,221 years of life lost.
Message: The highest suicide rate among men is in the age group 85 and over. For women it is those aged 40 to 442
Breakdown: The highest suicide rate among men was those aged 85 years and older (32.9 deaths per 100,000 people), in part reflecting a smaller underlying population in this age cohort. Males aged 85 and over accounted for 2.7 per cent of male suicide deaths, while males aged 45-49 (the second highest age-specific rate) accounted for 9.9 per cent.
For females, the highest rate of suicide was in the 40-44 age group, while the 70-79 age group had the lowest rate.
Message: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are nearly twice as likely to die by suicide2
Breakdown: In 2018, 169 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people died as a result of suicide. The five year trend to 2018 shows that the rate of suicide by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (23.7 death per 100,000 people) is nearly twice that of non-Indigenous people (12.3 deaths per 100,000 people). In 2018, the median age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide deaths was 31.8 years of age for males and 26.0 years of age for females.
Consistent with the proportion of male-to female deaths in the whole population, deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males typically represent the vast majority of Indigenous suicide deaths, with 76.3 per cent of all Indigenous suicide deaths in 2018 accounted for by males.