Suicide in Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Suicide in Australia has been extensively studied.[citation needed]

Around two thousand Australians take their own lives every year resulting in impacts on families, friends, workplaces and communities [1]

Over the past decade, about 2100 people have died by suicide each year. There were 2132 deaths from suicide registered in 2009, which is down from the 2282 deaths from suicide recorded in 2008. Note that both 2008 and 2009 figures are subject to revision. Deaths from suicide represented 1.4% of all deaths registered in 2009. 2013 recorded 2522 deaths.[2][3]

Background Information[edit]

In Australia 48% of all suicides in 2000 were by 35-64 year olds; an additional 13% were by 65 year olds and over.[4] The suicide rates for children younger than 15 years is estimated to have increased by 92% between the 1960s to 1990s.[5] Suicide rates are generally higher amongst males, rural and regional dwellers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.[6]

For a death to be considered a suicide and counted as such in Australian statistics, three criteria need to be met:

1. The death must be due to unnatural causes, such as injury, poisoning or suffocation rather than an illness

2. The actions which result in death must be self-inflicted

3. The person who injures himself or herself must have had the intention to die

(ResponseAbility, 2012) [7]

A study suggest that 1-2% of the NSW population has contemplated suicide in 1992. This was estimated to be approximately 90 000 people out of a population of about 6 million.[8]


Lifeline Australia - 13 11 14 [9]

Suicide Prevention Australia -

National suicide prevention strategy provides the platform for Australia's national policy on suicide prevention with an emphasis on promotion, prevention and early intervention. The main objectives for NSPS are,

- Build individual resilience and the capacity for self‐help

- Improve community strength, resilience and capacity in suicide prevention

- Providing targeted suicide prevention activities

- Implement standards and quality in suicide prevention

- Take a coordinated approach to suicide prevention

- Improve the evidence base and understanding of suicide prevention [10]

Beyond Blue is a major organisation that is set up in Australia by Federal, state and territory governments to help with mental health issues as well as helping people deal with issues such as suicide.[11]

Risk Factors[edit]


In every state and territory of Australia, suicide is much more common among males than females, with the ratio standing at 3:1 in 2012 [12]

Suicide rates for both males and females have generally decreased since the mid-90s with the overall suicide rate decreasing by 23% between 1999 and 2009. Suicide rates for males peaked in 1997 at 23.6 per 100,000 but have steadily decreased since then and stood at 14.9 per 100 000 in 2009. Female rates reached a high of 6.2 per 100 000 in 1997. Rates declined after that and was 4.5 per 100 000 in 2009.[13]

Urban-Rural differences[edit]

Overall suicide rates for males and females in Australia differ little between rural and urban areas. However, rates for young men are distinctly higher than women in rural settings. There are a number of different factors that contribute to this. The easy accessibility to firearms, lower socio-economic lifestyle and increased level of social isolation, all add to the higher rate of male suicide in rural Australia.[14][15]


There is a strong correlation between alcohol (as well as other drugs) and Australian young adults. Between 30-50% of suicides, detectable substances are found during post-mortem coronal investigations, with alcohol being the most common.[16]


The rate of suicide in Australian adolescents, has gradually decreased, and yet it still remains a prominent issue. Certain groups of young adults seem to be more at risk of potentially committing suicide. Youth of indigenous, rural or refugee backgrounds, as well as those in welfare, have been observed as having a higher rate of committing suicide. Young males tend to be more at risk than females.[17]


Studies suggest that in men there is a high correlation between the number of suicides and the length of unemployment accompanied by a decrease in the national unemployment rates. The data also states that the longer the period of low employment the higher the rate of suicides in the age group of men between ages 25–34 and 55-64.[18]

List of notable cases[edit]

  • In 1952, politician James Vinton Smith committed suicide by firearm.[19]
  • In 1991, John Friedrich committed suicide by firearm.
  • In 2007, a member of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) from Claremont in Tasmania, Kristy Corbett, was involved in a suicide case in which her former partner took his life. Kristy Corbett was investigated for her culpability but no charges were ever laid against her.[20]
  • Charlotte Dawson (2014), Australian TV presenter, hanging.[21]
  • Charmaine Dragun (2007), Australian television newsreader, jumped off The Gap, an oceanside cliff.[22]


  • Sveticic, Jerneja (2009). Suicide research : selected readings. Queensland: Australian Academic Press. ISBN 9781922117182. 


  1. ^ "" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-04-01. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Facts and Statistics, Mindframe National Media Initiative, 2011 
  4. ^ Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, 2011 
  5. ^ Trends and predictors of suicide in Australian children, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, 2011 
  6. ^ Facts and Statistics, Mindframe National Media Initiative, 2012 
  7. ^ "Adolescent suicide in Australia:Rates, risk and resilience" (PDF). 2012. 
  8. ^ Sayer, Stewart & Chipps, Geoffrey, Gavin & Jennifer (June 1996). "Suicide attempts in NSW: Associated mortality and morbidity". NSW Public Health Bulletin. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ http://(2014),National suicide prevention strategy, Retrieved from
  11. ^ "Beyond Blue Depression and anxiety". Beyond Blue. 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "Facts and Stats about suicide in Australia". 2014. 
  13. ^ Facts and Statistics, Mindframe National Media Initiative, 2011 
  14. ^ Alston, Margaret (2012). "Rural male suicide in Australia". doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.04.036. 
  15. ^ Qi, Xin (2012). "Spatial clusters of suicide in Australia". BMC Psychiatry. doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-86. 
  16. ^ Topp, Libby (2011). "Suicide in Australia: Where do alcohol and drugs fit in?". Of Substance. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  17. ^ McNamara, Patricia (2012). "Adolescent suicide in Australia: Rates, risks and resilience". Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi:10.1177/1359104512455812. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  18. ^ Milner, Page & LaMontagne, Alison, Andrew & Anthony (23 October 2012). "Duration of unemployment and suicide in Australia of the period 1985-2006: An ecological investigation by sex and age during declining national unemployment rates.". Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. doi:10.1017/S1474746406003423. 
  19. ^ "VINTON SMITH FOUND DEAD.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 23 July 1952. p. 5. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Sveticic 2009, p. 108
  21. ^ "Australian TV personality Charlotte Dawson commits suicide". fox411. fox411. February 23, 2014. Retrieved 2015-04-13. 
  22. ^ "The Australian". The Australian. The Australian. November 2, 2007. Retrieved 2015-04-13. 

External links[edit]