3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/09/2017   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

Suicide In Australia

In 2016, 2,866 people died from intentional self-harm (X60-X84, Y87.0) in Australia. To understand how the number of deaths due to suicide has changed in Australia over time, standardised death rates are used, as they enable the comparison of death rates between populations with different age structures. In 2016, the standardised death rate was 11.7 deaths per 100,000 people (see graph below). This compares with a rate of 10.6 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in 2007. Deaths from intentional self-harm occur among males at a rate three times greater than that for females. In 2016, the standardised death rate for males was 17.8 deaths per 100,000 people, while for females it was 5.8 deaths per 100,000 people.

Graph Image for Standardised death rates for Intentional self-harm, 2007-2016 (a)(b)(c)(d)(e)

Footnote(s): (a) Standardised death rates. Deaths per 100,000 of estimated mid-year population. See Glossary for further information. (b) Includes ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and Y87.0. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes 88-96. (c) All causes of death data from 2006 onward are subject to a revisions process - once data for a reference year are 'final', they are no longer revised. Affected data in this table are: 2007-2013 (final), 2014 (revised), 2015-2016 (preliminary). See Explanatory Notes 55-58. See also Causes of Death Revisions, 2012 and 2013 (Technical Note) in Causes of Death, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 3303.0). (d) The age-standardised death rates for 2012-2015 presented in this table have been recalculated using 2016-census-based population estimates. As a result, these rates may differ from those previously published. (e) Deaths registered on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 are included in this publication for the first time, see Explanatory Notes 12-15.

Source(s): Standardised death rates for Intentional self-harm, 2007-2016 (a)(b)(c)(d)(e)-Standardised death rates for Intentional self-harm, 2007-2016 (a)(b)(c)



Suicide deaths by states and territories

The standardised death rate for suicide in 2016 was 11.7 deaths per 100,000 persons. This was the third highest rate recorded in the past 10 years. Table 3.1 shows the standardised death rates for each state and territory over the ten years to 2016. All states and territories except Tasmania reported a decrease in suicide rate from 2015 to 2016. Similarly, all states and territories except Tasmania saw a decrease in the number of suicide deaths from 2015 to 2016, with Queensland recording the greatest decrease (from 746 to 674 deaths). (Please see data cube 11 on intentional-self harm in this publication for further information on suicide deaths by jurisdiction, including counts of suicide deaths.) New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland are the most populous states and collectively accounted for 73.4% of all suicide deaths in Australia in 2016.



3.1 Standardised death rate for suicide, state/territory of usual residence, 2007-2016(a)(b)(d)(e)

2007

Rate(c)
2008

Rate(c)
2009

Rate(c)
2010

Rate(c)
2011

Rate(c)
2012

Rate(c)
2013

Rate(c)
2014

Rate(c)
2015

Rate(c)
2016

Rate(c)

NSW
8.9
8.8
8.7
9.3
8.4
9.8
9.5
10.5
10.6
10.3
Vic
9.0
10.2
10.5
10.1
9.2
9.0
8.9
10.8
10.6
9.9
Qld
12.7
13.2
12.1
13.4
12.9
13.8
14.6
14.0
15.7
13.9
SA
12.8
11.0
11.5
11.8
12.9
11.7
11.9
14.3
13.4
13.3
WA
12.5
13.8
12.3
13.6
12.9
14.9
13.4
14.5
15.3
14.4
Tas.
13.5
15.0
15.4
13.0
14.1
13.6
14.2
12.8
16.3
17.0
NT
29.8
17.5
17.4
18.8
18.5
19.1
14.2
21.7
21.0
19.3
ACT
9.5
10.1
8.9
11.3
9.3
6.2
9.6
9.8
11.4
7.2
Australia
10.6
10.9
10.7
11.2
10.5
11.2
11.1
12.1
12.6
11.7

(a) All causes of death data from 2006 onward are subject to a revisions process - once data for a reference year are 'final', they are no longer revised. Affected data in this table are: 2007-2013 (final), 2014 (revised), 2015-2016 (preliminary). See Explanatory Notes 55-58. See also Causes of Death Revisions, 2013 Final Data (Technical Note) in Causes of Death, Australia, 2015 (cat. no. 3303.0).
(b) Includes ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and Y87.0. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes
88-96.
(c) Standardised death rate. Death rate per 100,000 estimated resident population as at 30 June. See Explanatory Notes 42-45 for further information.
(d) The age-standardised death rates for 2012-2015 presented in this table have been recalculated using 2016-census-based population estimates. As a result, these rates may differ from those previously published.
(e) Deaths registered on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 are included in this publication for the first time, see Explanatory Notes 12-15.

Suicide as a proportion of total deaths

While intentional self-harm accounts for a relatively small proportion (1.8%) of all deaths in Australia, it accounts for a higher proportion of deaths among younger people. In 2016, suicide accounted for over one-third of deaths (35.4%) among people 15-24 years of age, and over a quarter of deaths (28.6%) among those 25-34 years of age. For those people 35-44 years of age, 16.0% of deaths were due to intentional self-harm. The proportion of deaths due to suicide decreases in older age groups, as the likelihood of dying from natural causes of death increases.


Age distribution of deaths due to intentional self-harm

In 2016, suicide was the leading cause of death among all people 15-44 years of age, and the second leading cause of death among those 45-54 years of age. The median age at death for suicide was 43.3 years. This compares to a median age of 81.9 years for all deaths.

The graph below shows the proportion of all suicide deaths that occurred within each 5 year age group. While the number of suicide deaths differs significantly for males and females, the age distribution of these deaths is very similar. The highest proportion of suicide deaths of males occurs among those aged 30-34 years. For females, the highest proportion of suicide deaths occurs in those aged 50-54 years, which is also the age group at which the sex difference in proportion of suicide deaths is most apparent. For both males and females the proportion of deaths due to suicide decreases among those aged 55 years or more.

Graph Image for Suicide Deaths by age and sex as a percentage of total suicide deaths, 2016 (a)(b)(c)

Footnote(s): (a) Includes ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and Y87.0. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes 88-96. (b) Causes of death data for 2016 are preliminary and subject to a revisions process. See Explanatory Notes 55-58. (c) Deaths registered on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 are included in this publication for the first time, see Explanatory Notes 12-15.

Source(s): Suicide Deaths by age and sex as a percentage of total suicide deaths, 2016 (a)(b)(c)-Suicide Deaths by age and sex as a percentage of total suicide deaths, 2016 (a)(b)


Age-specific death rates for intentional self-harm

Age-specific death rates reflect the number of deaths for a specific age group, expressed per 100,000 of the estimated resident population of that same age group, for a given period (see the Glossary in this publication for further information). Age-specific suicide death rates for 2016 are shown in the graph below.

The 0-14 year age group has been excluded from this graph because of the small number of deaths that occur within that age group. The age-specific death rate is highest among males 85 years and over, but it should be noted that the number of suicides in this age group accounted for 0.2% of all male intentional self harm deaths in 2016.

Graph Image for Age specific death rates for Intentional self-harm, by sex 2016 (a)(b)(c)(d)

Footnote(s): (a) Standardised death rates. Deaths per 100,000 of estimated mid-year population. See Glossary for further information. (b) Includes ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and Y87.0. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes 88-96. (c) All causes of death data from 2006 onward are subject to a revisions process. See Explanatory Notes 55-58. (d) Deaths registered on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 are included in this publication for the first time, see Explanatory Notes 12-15.

Source(s): Age specific death rates for Intentional self-harm, by sex 2016 (a)(b)(c)(d)-Age specific death rates for Intentional self-harm, by sex 2016 (a)(b)(c)

Excluding males aged 85 years and over, the age-specific deaths rates were the highest in males 30-34 and 40-44 years of age. Suicide accounted for 33.2% of all male deaths among those 30-34 years of age and 17.0% of all male deaths among those 40-44 years of age. The age-specific suicide rate for males was lowest among those 15-19 years of age (13.4 deaths per 100,000 males), yet suicide accounted for 35.7% of all deaths in that age group.

For females, the highest age-specific suicide rate in 2016 was observed in the 50-54 year age group, with 10.4 deaths per 100,000 persons. The lowest age-specific death rate for females occurred among those 65-69 years of age (4.1 deaths per 100,000).

Suicide deaths of children

Deaths of children by suicide is an extremely sensitive issue. The number of deaths of children attributed to suicide can be influenced by coronial reporting practices. Reporting practices may lead to differences in counts across jurisdictions and this should be taken into account when interpreting these data. For more information on issues associated with the compilation and interpretation of suicide data, see Explanatory Notes 85-93.

For the purposes of the following analysis, children are defined as those aged between 5 and 17 years of age. The ABS is not aware of any recorded suicide deaths of children under the age of 5 years. In 2016, suicide was the leading cause of death of children between 5 and 17 years of age. The age-specific rate of suicide in this age group was 2.3 per 100,000 in 2016. It is important to note that suicide rates in the overall population remain higher than for the 5-17 year age group, with a crude death rate of 11.8 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2016.

When all child suicide deaths are combined for years 2012 to 2016, the Northern Territory reported the highest jurisdictional rate of child deaths due to suicide, with 13.9 deaths per 100,000 persons. All other states and territories reported rates ranging from 1.7 to 3.1 deaths per 100,000 (Victoria and both Tasmania and Western Australia, respectively). The corresponding rate for Australia for this age group was 2.3 deaths per 100,000 persons.



3.2 Intentional self-harm in children aged 5-17 years, Australia, 2012-2016(a)(b)(c)(f)(g)

Age group (years)
2012

No./proportion
2012

Rate(d)
2013

No./proportion
2013

Rate(d)
2014

No./proportion
2014

Rate(d)
2015

No./proportion
2015

Rate(d)
2016

No./proportion
2016

Rate(d)

5-17 years
Males
Suicide
38
2.0
60
3.1
49
2.5
47
2.4
62
3.1
All causes
285
15.1
283
14.8
244
12.7
298
15.2
280
14.1
Proportion(e)
13.3
na
21.2
na
20.1
na
15.8
na
22.1
na
Females
Suicide
40
2.2
35
1.9
37
2.0
40
2.2
27
1.4
All causes
215
12.0
204
11.3
195
10.7
217
11.7
161
8.6
Proportion(e)
18.6
na
17.2
na
19.0
na
18.4
na
16.8
na
Persons
Suicide
78
2.1
95
2.6
86
2.3
87
2.3
89
2.3
All causes
500
13.6
487
13.1
439
11.7
515
13.5
441
11.4
Proportion(e)
15.6
na
19.5
na
19.6
na
16.9
na
20.2
na
All ages(d)
2 580
11.3
2 610
11.3
2 891
12.3
3 027
12.7
2 866
11.8

na Not applicable
(a) All causes of death data from 2006 onward are subject to a revisions process - once data for a reference year are 'final', they are no longer revised. Affected data in this table are: 2012-13 (final), 2014 (revised) and 2015-2016 (preliminary). See Explanatory Notes 55-58. See also Causes of Death Revisions, 2013 Final Data (Technical Note) in Causes of Death, Australia, 2015 (cat. no. 3303.0).
(b) Cells with small values have been randomly assigned to protect the confidentiality of individuals. Cells with a zero value have not been affected by confidentialisation.
(c) Includes ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and Y87.0. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes
88-96.
(d) Crude death rate per 100,000 estimated resident population as at 30 June.
(e) Intentional self-harm deaths as a proportion of all deaths in the 5-17 year age group.
(f) The age-standardised death rates for 2012-2015 presented in this table have been recalculated using 2016-census-based population estimates. As a result, these rates may differ from those previously published.
(g) Deaths registered on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 are included in this publication for the first time, see Explanatory Notes 12-15.

Crisis helplines

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467

Kids Helpline (for young people aged 5 to 25 years): 1800 55 1800