Suicide is a prominent public health concern in Australia, and globally.
Data and trends relating to suicide in Australia can change over time. It is important to have accurate and up-to-date information about suicide to inform planning, policy and practice.
When interpreting or using suicide data it is important to remember that behind the numbers are people, families and communities impacted by suicide in Australia.
The reasons people take their own life are complex and often there is no single reason why a person attempts or dies by suicide.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its Causes of Death, Australia, 2021 data on Wednesday, 19 October 2022. This page has been updated to reflect the most up-to-date information.
- In 2021, there were 3,144 suicide deaths in Australia, with an age-standardised rate of 12.0 deaths per 100,000 population. The rate for 2021 is the lowest national suicide rate recorded since 2016.
- The suicide rate for males decreased by 2.3% between 2020 and 2021.
- The suicide rate for females increased by 5.0% between 2020 and 2021.
- Young and middle-aged people are more likely to die by suicide, with 81.9% of people who died by suicide being under the age of 65.
- Men aged over 85 years had the highest male age-specific suicide rate but accounted for the smallest proportion (3.2%) of male suicides.
- Women aged 50-54 years had the highest female age-specific suicide rate and accounted for the highest proportion (9.9%) of female suicides. In 2020, this age group had the seventh highest rate of female suicides.
- There were 219 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who died by suicide across Australia in 2021.
- Using data from New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory, the age-standardised suicide rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 27.1 per 100,000.
- The highest number of suicide deaths occurred in New South Wales (880 deaths). The Northern Territory recorded the highest rate of suicide (18.4 per 100,000 people).
- Almost 90% of people who died by suicide had at least one risk factor reported. Mood disorders (including depression) were the most common risk factor for both males (36.2%) and females (41.6%) for all age groups except for those 85 years and older.
- There were 81 people (2.6% of all suicide deaths) who had the COVID-19 pandemic mentioned in either a police, pathology or coronial finding report.
For a full snapshot of the ABS Causes of Death data for 2021, visit Life in Mind.
The reasons people take their own life are very complex. There is no single reason why a person attempts or dies by suicide.