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3309.0 - Suicides, Australia, 2010  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/07/2012   
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Contents >> Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide deaths


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER SUICIDE DEATHS

OVERVIEW

There were 996 suicide deaths registered across Australia between 2001 and 2010 where the deceased person was identified as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. This represented approximately 5% of all suicide deaths registered in this period. Suicides accounted for 4.2% of all registered deaths of people identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in 2010, compared with 1.6% for all Australians.

This chapter will focus on the 946 suicide deaths registered in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over this decade. Data for Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have been excluded to ensure that the information presented is statistically robust. This is in line with reporting approaches currently recommended by the Council of Australian Governments and the National Indigenous Reform Agreement Performance Information Management Group.

This chapter presents the total number of suicide deaths, age-specific death rates and rate ratios by sex for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory over the period 2001 to 2010.

DATA CUBES

Further data relating to suicide deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can be found in the data cubes associated with this publication. These include counts and age-standardised death rates for Australia for 2001 to 2010, and counts of suicide deaths by capital city Statistical Division, other urban and rest of state/territory for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

DATA QUALITY

A variety of measures of mortality (including age-specific death rates and median age at death) indicate that the incidence of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is substantially higher than it is in the non-Indigenous population. However, the exact scale of difference between the suicide rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people is difficult to establish conclusively.

Caution should be exercised when undertaking analysis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths and, in particular, trends in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mortality. This is due to data quality issues, including the under identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in deaths data and the uncertainties inherent with estimating and projecting the size and structure of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population over time.

For further information on data quality issues associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths, see Causes of Death, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 3303.0) Explanatory Notes 74-83.

Suicide deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

In the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, the highest age-specific rate of suicide was among males between 25 and 29 years of age (90.8 deaths per 100,000 population). For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females, the highest rate of suicide was amongst 20 to 24 years olds (21.8 deaths per 100,000 population). In the non-Indigenous population, the highest rate of suicide occurred among males between 35 and 39 years of age (25.4 deaths per 100,000). For non-Indigenous females the highest rate of suicide (6.6 deaths per 100,000) was recorded for each of the five year age groups between 35 and 54 years of age.

The greatest difference in rates of suicide between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people was in the 15-19 years age group for both males and females. Suicide rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females aged 15–19 years were 5.9 times higher than those for non-Indigenous females in this age group, while for males the corresponding rate ratio was 4.4. In older age groups the rate ratios for suicide deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous peoples are lower, with similar rates of mortality observed from the age of 45 and above. The overall rate of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was twice that of non-Indigenous people, with a rate ratio of 2.0 for males and 1.9 for females.

Table 6.1 presents the number of suicide deaths and rate of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people by five year age groups and sex for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory combined. The table also displays the ratio of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to non-Indigenous suicide rates, by age group and sex. Figure 6.2 shows the age-specific suicide rates by Indigenous status by sex for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia for the 10 years 2001-2010.

Table. Suicide, number of deaths and age-specific death rates by Indigenous status, sex, NSW, Qld, SA, WA, NT, 2001-2010



Graph Image for 6.2. Age-specific suicide(a) rates(b) by Indigenous Status and sex, NSW, Qld, SA, WA, NT, 2001-2010(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 Causes of Death, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 3303.0) Explanatory Notes 98-101. (b) Rate per 100,000 estimated resident population for each age group and sex. (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: 2006 (final) 2007 (final), 2008 (final), 2009 (revised), 2010 (preliminary). See Causes of Death, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 3303.0) Technical Note and Explanatory Notes for further information. (d) Rates were not calculated for Indigenous females aged 55 years and above due to the small number of suicide deaths which occurred in these age groups.

Source(s): Suicides, Australia




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