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In Australia an average of nine people take their own lives every day; that’s one every 160 minutes.

Over the years, countless organisations have been created to bring this too often overlooked issue into the light, but despite all the campaigns around suicide prevention staged in the past 20 years, rates are continuing to rise.

Each year, September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day — a chance for us to raise awareness of the prevalence of suicide in our community and share support for the people that need it. 

In order to remind us of just how many Aussie families are touched by suicide each year we thought we’d compile a few startling facts that highlight the sheer scale of the issue.

1. In 2019, there was an average of 9 deaths by suicide in Australia each day

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in 2019 there were 3,318 registered suicides in Australia.

In 2019, suicide was the 13th leading cause of death in Australia.

On average, a person who died by suicide lost 36.7 years of life.

These high numbers can be largely attributed to a rise in the suicide rate among middle-aged and young women.

Suicide rate rise

2. Men are three times more likely to take their own lives

Consistently over the past 10 years, the number of suicide deaths was approximately 3 times higher in males than females. According to ABS, 75% of people who died by suicide in 2019 were male.

While we’ve recently seen an increase in the suicide rate among women, males remain 300% more likely to take their own lives than females.

Suicide Rates

3. Indigenous suicide rates are more than double those of non-Indigenous Australians

There were 195 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who died by suicide in 2019, which was the fifth most common cause of death.

The median age at death due to suicide for the Australian population is 44 years. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, this is 29.8 years.

While suicide is a big problem across our entire society, for Australia’s Aboriginal peoples, it’s at epidemic proportions.

As the esteemed suicide prevention researcher Gerry Georgatos wrote in The Guardian Australia the figures below may not even represent the full extent of the issue.

“Suicide accounts for more than 5 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths… In fact in my estimations, because of under-reporting issues, suicide accounts for 10 per cent of Indigenous deaths.”

Gerry Georgatos
Aboriginal Suicide Rates

4. According to hospital data, in 2016-2017 64% of people who were hospitalised due to intentional self-harm were female

Despite the fact that men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women, females account for more than 60% of hospitalisations from self-harm. And this is a phenomenon that is far from being exclusive to Australia.

According to UK based Psychology professor Daniel Freeman this discrepancy is largely due to the different means that the two genders use when attempting suicide.

Aus Inst of Health and Welfare

5. During 2016-2018, suicide was the leading cause of death among all people 15-49 years of age

More than one-third of all deaths in people aged 15-24 are due to suicide.

The highest proportion of suicides occur among young and middle aged cohorts, while the proportion is lower in older age cohorts.

The proportion of deaths due to suicide decreases in older age groups, as the likelihood of dying from natural causes of death increases.

6. There were increases in suicide rates and numbers across most states and territories in 2019 when compared to 2018

All states except for Queensland recorded increases in numbers of suicide deaths between 2018 and 2019. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland account for almost three-quarters of registered suicides.

The Northern Territory recorded the highest suicide death rate of 21.0 followed by Tasmania at 19.5. 

More information on Suicide in Australia

For more information on suicide in Australia, visit Suicide Prevention Australia — the national peak body for the suicide prevention sector.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please contact:

For support regarding suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

AnglicareSA’s suicide support services

Suicide Prevention Service

Our Suicide Prevention Service is a free three-month program providing specialised support to individuals who have had a recent suicide attempt.

It’s important to note that AnglicareSA suicide support services are not a crisis services.

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Living Beyond Suicide­

Living Beyond Suicide is a free program providing practical and emotional support to families and individuals bereaved through suicide.

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Walk Through the Darkness and Into the Light

Each November, AnglicareSA invites people to join us as dawn breaks on ‘International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day’ in memory of a loved one, to support others bereaved by suicide, and for suicide prevention. Find out more.

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