Male suicides rise over 10% in one year
Male suicide in Australia appears to be on the rise again according to the latest reports from the country’s two largest states.
The latest available data from state coroners in New South Wales and Victoria shows an increase in male suicide of more than 10% in 2022.
If the trend is reflected across Australia, male suicides will reach a record high of more than 2,500 deaths in 2022 and exceed the previous record of 2,536 in 2019.
Male suicides in NSW up 15%
There have been 689 suspected or confirmed male suicide deaths reported in NSW from 1 January to 30 November 2022, according to the latest monthly report from the NSW Suicide Monitoring and Data Management System.
This number is a record high and represents a rise of 15%, up from 600 male suicides in the same time period for 2021, with male suicides in 2022 accounting for nearly 4 in 5 deaths by suicide (77.9%).
The NSW Suicide Monitoring and Data Management System is a collaboration between the NSW Ministry of Health, Department of Communities and Justice, the State Coroner and NSW Police. It estimates the number of recent suspected and confirmed suicides in NSW, using data collected by NSW Police and the State Coroner.
Male suicides in VIC up 8%
In the year until the end of December 2022, there were 560 suspected or confirmed male suicide deaths reported in Victoria, according to the state's latest Monthly Suicide Data Report, published in February 2023.
This number is a record high and represents a rise of 8%, up from 518 male suicides in the same time period for 2021, with male suicides in 2022 accounting for around 3 in 4 deaths by suicide (74.1%).
Monthly Suicide Data Report for Victoria is produced under the Coroners Court of Victoria's initiative to release timely and accessible data on suicide across the state.
Trend exceeds pre-Covid high
Nationally, male suicide numbers reached a record high of 2,536 in 2019 before falling by 7% in years during the COVID-19 pandemic to 2,384 in 2020 and 2,358 in 2021.
Male suicide numbers in Victoria followed this trend peaking at 553 in 2019 and falling nearly 7% during the pandemic to 520 in 2020 and 518 in 2021.
In NSW too, 2019 was a record year for male suicide which reached 736 deaths in 2019 and falling 12% during the pandemic to 656 in 2020 and 646 in 2021.
Experts advise caution over data
The official national suicide statistics are calculated by calendar year and generally published by the Australia Bureau of Statistics in the final quarter of the following year.This means that the national trend in male suicides for 2022 will not be publicly known until the end of 2023.
In recent years, some State Coroners have begun to publish more timely data to help provide a clearer picture of current suicide trends. While suicide trends in NSW and Victoria can help give an indication of the overall trend, experts warn that short-term data be interpreted cautiously, with great care taken in drawing conclusions about any apparent increase or decrease that is observed.
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