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SUICIDE IN AUSTRALIA
In 2015, 3,027 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 2015, the standardised death rate was 12.6 deaths per 100,000 people (see graph below). This compares with a rate of 10.2 suicide deaths per 100,000 persons in 2006. The ranking of suicide as a leading cause of death has also changed over time; it is now the 13th leading cause of death in Australia, compared to the 14th leading cause in 2006.
Deaths from intentional self-harm occur among males at a rate three times greater than that for females. In 2015, the standardised death rate for males was 19.3 deaths per 100,000 people, while for females it was 6.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
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 85-93. (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: 2006-2012 (final), 2013 (revised), 2014-2015 (preliminary). See Explanatory Notes 52-55 and A More Timely Annual Collection: Changes to ABS Processes (Technical Note) in this publication. See also Causes of Death Revisions, 2012 and 2013 (Technical Note) in Causes of Death, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 3303.0).
Suicide deaths by states and territories
The standardised death rate for suicide in 2015 was 12.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. This was the highest rate recorded in the past 10 years. All states and territories except South Australia reported a stable or increasing suicide rate from 2014 to 2015. (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.) Table 3.1, below, shows the standardised death rates for each state and territory over the ten years to 2015. Although the largest rate increase from 2014 to 2015 occurred in Tasmania, Queensland recorded the greatest increase in the number of suicide deaths (from 648 to 746 deaths). New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland are the most populous states and collectively accounted for 73.2% of all suicide deaths in Australia in 2015.
While intentional self-harm accounts for a relatively small proportion (1.9%) of all deaths in Australia, it accounts for a higher proportion of deaths among younger people. In 2015, suicide accounted for one-third of deaths (33.9%) among people 15-24 years of age, and over a quarter of deaths (27.7%) among those 25-34 years of age. For those people 35-44 years of age, 16.9% 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 2015, 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 44.5 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 40-44 years of age, while for females it is the 45-49 age group. For both males and females the proportion of suicide deaths decreases among those over 55 years of age. Differences between males and females are most apparent in the youngest age group, with a higher proportion of female deaths occurring among those 15-19 years of age.
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 85-93. (b) Causes of death data for 2015 are preliminary and subject to a revisions process. See Explanatory Notes 52-55 and A More Timely Annual Collection: Changes to ABS Processes (Technical Note) in this publication.
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 2015 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 3% of all male intentional self harm deaths in 2015.
Footnote(s): (a) Age-specific death rate. Deaths per 100,000 of estimated mid-year population for each age group. 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 85-93. (c) Causes of death data for 2015 are preliminary and subject to a revisions process. See Explanatory Notes 52-55 and A More Timely Annual Collection: Changes to ABS Processes (Technical Note) in this publication.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline (for young people aged 5 to 25 years): 1800 55 1800
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