Media Release: Peak body reports a national decrease in deaths by suicide

27 September 2017

The report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that 2,866 Australians died by suicide in 2016. This is a decrease of 161 deaths from the previously reported 2015 figure of 3,027. While we are seeing the first decrease in some years, suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are approximately twice as likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous Australians, with 162 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders dying by suicide in 2016.

Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) Chief Executive Sue Murray calls for those working in suicide prevention to hold their focus: “Suicide is a complex public health issue that requires sustained investment in prevention efforts to support more Australians to live. We are encouraged by the reported decrease, increased funding, support across Parliament and focus on regionally driven suicide prevention over the past year.

 “Many organisations and communities are working hard to implement locally driven prevention plans focusing on priority issues such as primary care and care following discharge from our hospitals, as well as trialling innovative whole of community solutions. We will continue to encourage all working in suicide prevention to hold their focus on making the deep systemic and social changes needed.”

SPA Director Matthew Tukaki says of the release: “Above all else, on behalf of Suicide Prevention Australia, I acknowledge each of these lives lost to suicide and the pain suicide brings to individuals, families and whole communities.

“As well as taking a whole-of-community-approach to prevention we must look to how individuals and organisations support priority populations that are continually overrepresented in deaths by suicide.”

The ABS is to be congratulated for improving the timeliness of this data.

Headline data published includes:

  • There were 2,866 deaths due to suicide in 2016 with an age-specific rate of 11.8 per 100,000.
  • There were an average of 7.9 deaths by suicide in Australia each day.
  • There were 2,151 male deaths at a age-specific rate of 17.9 per 100,000.
  • There were 715 female deaths at an age-specific rate of 5.9 per 100,000.
  • 162 (119 male, 43 female) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people died by suicide, which is slightly higher than the 152 recorded in 2015.
  • Suicide was the 5th leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across NSW, QLD, SA, WA and NT, compared to the 15th leading cause of death for non-Indigenous people in these states.
  • In these states, the standardised death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (23.8 per 100,000) was more than twice the non-Indigenous rate (11.4 per 100,000).

For a full summary of ABS Causes of Death data relating to suicide, please visit the Mindframe website at http://www.mindframe-media.info/ and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website for full data sets.

Talking about suicide in the media: A reminder of the Mindframe Media guidelines - http://www.mindframe-media.info/ and http://ww.conversationsmatter.com.au for tips on how to talk safely and constructively about suicide. 

24/7 crisis support information

Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au 
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelp.com.au
MensLine 1300 78 99 78 www.mensline.org.au
beyondblue 1300 22 4636 www.beyondblue.org.au
Qlife 1800 184 527  www.qlife.org.au /

For additional services and support visit www.suicidepreventionaust.org and click on the Get Help button.

Resources

27 September 2017
The report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that 2,866 Australians died by suicide in 2016. This is a decrease of 161 deaths from the previously reported 2015 figure of 3,027.