Male Suicides In Australia Up 10% 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:

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.