We would like to acknowledge the information provided by ABS (Causes of Death, Australia, 2022 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au), and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Data from suicide registers – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (aihw.gov.au).
Please note this page will be update as new data comes to hand.
When referring to or talking about statistics, we recognise that every number represents a person, a loved one, a community member. Research states that 89% of people in Australia know someone who has attempted and 85% know someone who has died by suicide, so we need to acknowledge and consider the lived and living experience of each and every person we meet.
The reasons people take their own life are complex and often there is no single reason why a person attempts or dies by suicide, and although there are a number of common health and psychosocial reasons, these are as individual as the person themselves.
If you have lived or living experience of suicide and are finding this information difficult, please reach out to ourselves, a helpline or trusted health professional or friend for support.
General suicide data 2022 – ABS (released 2023)
- 3,249 people died by suicide (3,166 in 2021).
- The median age of death by suicide was 45.6 years.
- 1.23% of deaths recorded.
- Suicide was the 15th leading cause of death.
- Men aged 45-49 had the highest rates of those aged under 80 years – 3.26% of deaths recorded.
Suicide rates by gender
2,455 males died by suicide.
- 11th leading cause of death for men.
- Median age at death was 46 years.
- 75.6% of people who died by suicide in 2022 were male.
- The suicide rate for males increased by 2.6% from 2021.
794 females died by suicide.
- 26th leading cause of death for females.
- Median age at death was 44.1 years.
- The suicide rate for females decreased by 2.3% from 2021.
Suicide by age
- 81.7% of people who died by suicide were under 65 years.
- Median age of 45.6 years for deaths by suicide compared to 82.2 years for all deaths.
- Those aged under 25 who died by suicide:
- For females, 15.5% of suicides.
- For males 10.5% of suicides.
Suicide of males: age-specific death rates
- Males over 85 years had the highest age-specific suicide rate (32.7 per 100,000) – accounted for 2.9% of suicides of males.
- Males between 45-49 years had the highest age-specific suicide rate of those under 85 years (32.6 per 100,000) – accounted for 10.7% of deaths due to suicide.
Between 2021 and 2022:
- Males aged between 45-49 years had the largest increase in their age-specific suicide rate (up 9.4 deaths per 100,000).
- Males aged between 80-84 years had the largest decrease in their age-specific suicide rate (down 9.4 deaths per 100,000)
Suicide of females: age-specific death rates
In 2022, females aged over 85 years:
- Females aged over 85 years had the highest age-specific suicide rate for the first time since ABS started collecting data (1968) with a rate of 10.6 deaths per 100,000 – accounted for 4.4% of suicides of females.
- Females aged aged betweem 45-49 years had the highest age-specific suicide rate of females aged under 85 years (8.8 deaths per 100,000).
- The highest proportion of suicide occurred in those aged between 25-29 years (9.4%).
Between 2021 and 2022:
- Females aged between 70-74 years had the largest increase in their age-specific suicide rate (up 1.7 deaths per 100,000).
- Females aged between 40-44 years had the largest decrease in their age-specific suicide rate (down 1.6 deaths per 100,000).
Suicide of children
We acknowledge the challenge of not only reporting this data but receiving it. Children are those aged between 5 and 17 years old.
- There were 77 children who died by suicide. This is the lowest number of suicides of children in the last 5 years – accounting for 15.5% of child deaths.
- Suicide was the 2nd leading cause of child death in Australia, after land transport accidents. Suicide has been the leading cause of death in children since 2013.
- Males children had a suicide rate of 2.2 per 100,000 children (47 deaths).
- Females children had a suicide rate of 1.5 per 100,000 children (30 deaths).
- Over 80% of children who died by suicide were aged 15-17 years (64 deaths).
- The suicide rate in Queensland decreased by 54.3% in 2022.
- Between 2018 – 2022 suicide has been the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
- 27.2% of deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were due to suicide.
- 75.3% of Aboriginal and Torres strait islander children who died by suicide were aged between 15 and 17 years.
- 57.1% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who died by suicide were female.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
The suicide rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is twice that of non-Indigenous people in Australia. This difference is due to multiple, complex and interrelated social, cultural and historical influences, including colonisation, the impact of the stolen generation, trans-generational grief and trauma, racism and continued socioeconomic disadvantage. We do acknowledge that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders may never experience suicidal thoughts or behaviour, and aspects of their culture and connection to country can be a significant strength.
In 2022 there were 239 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who died by suicide across Australia in 2022.
- 27.6% lived in New South Wales.
- Median age at death was 33.4 years (34.1 years for males and 31 years for females).
- The number of suicides of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people increased when comparing 2013-2017 with 2018-2022.
- Suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death for males – 83.7% were aged between 15 – 44 years.
- For females, the highest suicide rate was for those aged 15-24 years
- Those living in Western Australia recorded the highest suicide rate in both 5-year periods.
- One third of people who died by suicide during 2018-2022 lived in Queensland.
- South Australia was the only jurisdiction to record a decrease in rate across the two periods
We acknowledge the reasons people end their lives are as individual as the person themselves, and these reasons are often complex and multifaceted. Risk factors identified are listed below, noting these may have been present but not necessarily the cause of the suicide.
- Mood disorders (including depression) – the most common risk factor in all age groups except those aged 85 years and over.
- Limitation of activities due to illness and disability continues to be the most common risk factor for those aged 85 years and over.
- Suicide ideation noted as a risk factor in at least one fifth of suicide deaths across all age groups. Suicide ideation can include thoughts or contemplation of suicide, and both direct and indirect discussions or comments surrounding a person’s intention or wish to end their life.
- Those aged under 45 years were most likely to have issues with drug and or alcohol use (both acute use and intoxication, as well as chronic use) mentioned.
- Those aged 65 years and over were most likely to have chronic health conditions and pain mentioned.
- Those aged 45 – 64 years had factors relating to employment and unemployment mentioned.
- 25-44 years were the most likely age group to have acute alcohol use and intoxication mentioned as a risk factor (present in 19.6% of suicides in this age group).
- 45-64 years were the most likely age group to have chronic alcohol abuse disorders mentioned as a risk factor (present in 15.4% of suicides in this age group).
Psychoactive substance use was recorded as a factor in 14.2% of suicides, and directly contributed to death in a further 12.3% (i.e., deaths due to intentional drug toxicity or mixed drug and alcohol toxicity (X60-X65)). Similar to alcohol, acute use of psychoactive substances can affect a death due to suicide in a number of ways, including by impairing cognition, perception or moods, or by causing toxicity.
- 25-44 years were the most likely age group to have issues with psychoactive substance use (both acute use and intoxication as well as chronic use) mentioned as a risk factor (present in 19.2% and 19.5% of suicides in this age group, respectively).
- Under 25 years, acute and chronic psychoactive substance use were both more common risk factors than acute or chronic alcohol use.
Risk Factors for Females
- Mood disorders (including depression) were the most common risk factor in over 40% of all female suicides, and over 50% of suicides of females aged 45-64 years.
- Personal history of self-harm was the most common risk factor for those aged under 25 years.
- Suicide ideation was mentioned as a risk factor in over one quarter of suicides in every age group.
- Overall, substance abuse was less commonly mentioned as a suicide risk factor for females than for males.
- Acute psychoactive substance use was the most common form of substance abuse for those aged 5-24 years.
- For all other age groups, the most common form of substance abuse was either acute or chronic alcohol use.
Suicide in the COVID-19 pandemic
The impact of COVID-19 on mortality continues to remain of high importance. This includes deaths from the virus itself as well as non-COVID-19 diseases, suicides, accidents and assaults. For some people the effects of COVID-19 on the economy. employment, cost of living, the health system and social contact could lead to risk factors for ill health (including suicide) to increase. In 2022 there were 84 people who died by suicide, who had the COVID-19 pandemic mentioned in either a police, pathology or coronial finding report. For most people who died by suicide and had the COVID-19 pandemic mentioned as a risk factor, it did not appear as an isolated risk.
When COVID-19 was mentioned as a risk factor it showed up in different ways. For some people direct impacts from the pandemic such as job loss, lack of financial security, family and relationship pressures and not feeling comfortable with accessing health care were noted. For others, a general concern or anxiety about the pandemic and societal changes were stated or anxiety about contracting the virus itself.
The current ABS census doesn’t ask about sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status. There are also no standardised questions on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in suicide death data records. The data below is from the ‘Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Statistics for LGBTIQ+ People’ recorded in October 2021.
- LGBTQA+ 16 – 17 years were almost 3 times more likely (11%) to have attempted suicide in the past 12 months and almost 5 times more likely (25.6%) to have attempted suicide in their lifetime.
- Transgender people aged 14-25 are fifteen times more likely to have attempted suicide in their lifetime.
- People with an intersex variation aged 16 and over are nearly six times more likely to have attempted suicide in their lifetime.
- 16% of LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 and 27.8% of bisexual people aged 18 years and over reported that they had attempted suicide.
- 5.2% of LGBTI people aged 18 and over reported having attempted suicide in the past 12 months (13.7% of trans men, 10.9% of trans women, 6.8% of non-binary participants, 4.2% of cisgender women and 3.3% of cisgender men), and 30.3% of LGBTI people aged 18 and over reported having attempted suicide at some point during their lives
- 48.1% of transgender and gender diverse people aged 14 to 25 reported that they had attempted suicide in their lifetime.
- 35% of transgender people aged 18 and over reported that they had attempted suicide in their lifetime.
- 19% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over reported that they had attempted suicide on the basis of issues related to their intersex status.
Worldwide – World Health Organisation
- An estimated 703,000 people die by suicide every year, one every 40 seconds.
- Suicide 1.3% all deaths worldwide, 17th leading cause of death
- 77% of global suicides occur in low and middle-income countries.
- The global rate of suicide is over twice as high among men than women.