Male suicides in Australia up 10 per cent in 2017

The number of male suicides in Australia has risen by nearly 10% from 2,151 deaths in 2016 to 2,348 deaths in 2017, the highest annual figure in over a decade. Suicide now kills more than 8 Australians a day, taking the lives of more than 6 men and 2 women a day on average.

Trends In Male Suicide By Age Groups 

Male suicide continues to be a major social issue for men and boys of all ages in Australia and remains the biggest single killer of men aged 15-44.

Men over 85 continue to have the highest rate of suicide, while accounting for a relatively small number of suicides. 

Men aged 25-64 still account for the majority (71.3%) of all male suicides.

Age Group Suicides % Increase
0-14 16 +77.8
15-19 106 +5.0
20-24 195 -3.5
25-29 222 +18.1
30-34 241 -2.1
35-39 213 +7.0
40-44 243 +10.5
45-49 259 +43.9
50-54 165  -8.8
55-59 195 +21.1
60-64 135 0
65-69 124 +31.9
70-74 82 +30.2
75-79 50 -24.2
80-84 41 +8.9
85 and over 61 0
All ages 2,348 +9.2
Source: ABS 3303.0 Causes of Death, Australia, 2017. From Table 11.1 Intentional self-harm, Number of deaths, 5 year age groups by sex, 2008–2017 

Some of the most notable changes in 2017 were:

  • An increase in male suicide in boys under 15, from 9 deaths in 2016 to 16 deaths in 2017 (up 77.8%)
  • An increase in male suicide in men aged 45-49, from 180 deaths in 2016 to 259 deaths in 2017 (up 43.9%)
  • An increase in male suicide for men in their 40s, from 400 deaths in 2016 to 502 deaths in 2017 (up 25.5%)
  • An total increase of 263 suicides in 2017 compared to 2016, of which 197 (74.9%) were male 

Male Suicide Rates By Age Groups

The age groups with the highest rates of male suicide in 2017 were:

  • Men over 85 (32.8 deaths per 100,00)
  • Men aged 45-49 (32.1 deaths per 100,00)
  • Men aged 40-44 (30.5 deaths per 100,00) 
  • Men aged 30-34 (26.5 deaths per 100,00)
  • Men aged 55-59 (26.4 deaths per 100,00)
Age Group 2016 2107
0-14 0.4 0.7
15-19 13.4 13.9
20-24 23.4 22.2
25-29 20.7 24.0
30-34 27.6 26.5
35-39 24.8 25.7
40-44 27.2 30.5
45-49 22.9 32.1
50-54 23.7 21.9
55-59 22.2 26.4
60-64 21.2 20.8
65-69 16.0 21.2
70-74 14.4 17.4
75-79 21.4 15.5
80-84 22.2 19.5
85 and over 34.0 32.8
All ages  17.9 19.2
Source: ABS 3303.0 Causes of Death, Australia, 2017. From Table 11.2 Intentional self-harm, Age-specific death rates, 5 year age groups by sex, 2008–2017 

Male Suicide By State and Territory

Some notable trends in 2017 include:

  • Male suicide increased in NSW, QLD, WA and ACT; fell in VIC, SA and TAS and stayed the same in NT
  • The highest number of male suicides occur in the largest states: NSW (683), QLD (609) and VIC (445)
  • The highest rates of male suicide occur in NT (25.9), TAS (23.8), QLD, (23.3) WA (21.8) 
  • The lowest rates of male suicide occur in VIC (15.3), NSW (16.1), ACT (16.1) and SA (19.6)
New South Wales 
  • The number of male suicides in New South Wales rose by more than 10% from 614 deaths in 2016 to 683 deaths in 2017
  • Male suicide kills 13 men every week in New South Wales
  • Nearly 4 out of 5 suicides in New South Wales are men (77.6%)
  • The rate of male suicide in New South Wales for 2013-2017 was 16.1, lower than the national average of 18.5 deaths per 100,000
Victoria 
  • The number of male suicides in Victoria fell, from 454 deaths in 2016 to 445 deaths in 2017
  • Male suicide kills nearly 9 men every week in Victoria
  • 7 out of 10 suicides in Victoria are men (71.7%)
  • The rate of male suicide in Victoria for 2013-2017 was 15.3, lower than the national average of 18.5 deaths per 100,000
Queensland
  • The number of male suicides in Queensland rose, from 525 deaths in 2016 to 609 deaths in 2017
  • Male suicide kills nearly 12 men every week in Queensland
  • 3 out 4 suicides in Queensland are men (75.7%)
  • The rate of male suicide in Queensland  for 2013-2017 was 23.3, higher than the national average of 18.5 deaths per 100,000
South Australia
  • The number of male suicides in South Australia fell, from 165 deaths in 2016 to 164 deaths in 2017
  • Male suicide kills 3 men every week in South Australia
  • 3 out 4 suicides in South Australia are men (73.2%)
  • The rate of male suicide in South Australia  for 2013-2017 was 19.6, higher than the national average of 18.5 deaths per 100,000
Western Australia
  • The number of male suicides in Western Australia rose 14%, from 266 deaths in 2016 to 304 deaths in 2017
  • Male suicide kills nearly 6 men every week in Western Australia
  • 3 out 4 suicides in Western Australia are men (74.3%)
  • The rate of male suicide in  for 2013-2017 was 21.8, higher than the national average of 18.5 deaths per 100,000
Tasmania
  • The number of male suicides in Tasmania fell, from 68 deaths in 2016 to 60 deaths in 2017
  • Male suicide kills one man every week in Tasmania
  • 3 out 4 suicides in Tasmania are men (75%)
  • The rate of male suicide in Tasmania for 2013-2017 was 23.8, higher than the national average of 18.5 deaths per 100,000
Northern Territory
  • The number of deaths by male suicides in the Northern Territory in 2017 was 38, the same number of male suicides as 2016
  • Male suicide kills 3 men every month in the Northern Territory 
  • 3 out of  4 suicides in the Northern Territory are men (74.5%)
  • The rate of male suicide in the Northern Territory for 2013-2017 was 25.9, higher than the national average of 18.5 deaths per 100,000
ACT
  • The number of male suicides in the ACT more than doubled last year, rising from 20 deaths in 2016 to 44 deaths in 2017
  • Male suicide kills nearly four men every month in the ACT
  • 3 out 4 suicides suicides in the ACT are men (75.9%)
  • The rate of male suicide in the ACT for 2013-2017 was 16.1, lower than the national average of 18.5 deaths per 100,000
Source: ABS 3303.0 Causes of Death, Australia, 2017. From Table 11.6 Intentional self-harm, State and territory, Number of deaths, Age-standardised death rate, Rate ratio, Sex, 2008–2017

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Suicide 

Male suicide continues to be a major social issue for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander males. Some key statistics are listed below:

  • There were 561 recorded Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander male suicides in the five years from 2013-2017.
  • Men and boys account for 72.9% of all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander suicides.
  • Male suicide is the second biggest killer of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander men and boys.
  • The Indigenous male suicide rate is nearly twice as high as the Non-Indigenous male suicide rate. 
Age Indigenous Rate Non-Indigenous Rate Rate Ratio Rate Difference 
1–14 years 2.7 0.4 6.7 2.3
15-24 years 53.9 16.4 3.3 37.5
25-34 years 75 22.2 3.4 52.8
35-44 years 65.3 27.7 2.4 37.6
All males  34.9 18.5 1.9 16.4
Source: ABS 3303.0 Causes of Death, Australia, 2017. From Table 11.2 Intentional self-harm, Age-specific death rates, 5 year age groups by sex, 2008–2017 Table 12.4 Underlying causes of death, Leading causes by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, Numbers and Age-Specific Death Rates, Males, Females and Persons, NSW, Qld, SA, WA and NT 

The age groups with the highest rates of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander male suicide are:

  • Men aged 25-34 (75 deaths per 100,00)
  • Men aged 35-44 (65.3 deaths per 100,00)
  • Men aged 15-24 (53.9 deaths per 100,00) 

Female Suicide 

The number of female suicides in Australia has risen by nearly 10% from 715 deaths in 2016 to 780 deaths in 2017, the highest annual figure in over a decade. Women aged 45-54 have the highest rates of female suicide. 

FURTHER READING:

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    commented on Male Suicides In Australia Up 10% in 2017 2019-03-18 21:27:59 +1000
    Men aged 25-64 account for 71.3% of male suicide and hence more than half of all suicides. How many suicide prevention initiatives acknowledge this fact, let alone target this group? The fundamental lack of empathy for men needs to be explicitly recognised as a key impediment to addressing suicide.