Suspected deaths by suicide

In Australia, data on suspected deaths by suicide in 2020 and 2021 have been released for Victoria and New South Wales from their respective suicide registers. The interim Queensland Suicide Register has released data for 2020. To-date there is no evidence of any increase in the total number of suspected deaths by suicide in 2020 or 2021 relative to previous years.

It is important to bear in mind that suicide is not influenced or caused by one factor—but results from a complex interaction between multiple risk factors (Leske et al. 2020).

The data from suicide registers are based on initial police reports and other information available at the time of referral to the coroner. They are not directly comparable with data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which are based on final coronial determinations. However, the differences are generally small. For example, in the case of the Victorian Suicide Register (VSR):

…analyses have shown that over time, the VSR coding team are consistently 95% accurate or better in identifying the cohort of deaths that are ultimately determined to be suicides (Coroners Court 2021a).

The state and territory suicide registers also differ from each other in their processes and counting rules for identifying suspected suicide deaths. Therefore, data from one register cannot be directly compared with those from another.