Data from suicide registers

Suspected deaths by suicide in Victoria

The number of suspected deaths by suicide in Victoria each year has been relatively steady over the past five years, with the number in 2020 (713) similar to 2019 (720), 2018 (703) and 2017 (683) (Coroners Court 2021). The number of suspected deaths by suicide reported in Victoria from 1 January to 31 August 2021(439) is similar to the numbers reported for the same periods in 2017 (456), 2018 (453), 2019 (480) and 2020 (493) (Coroners Court 2021).

The monthly data show considerable variation (see Figure 1 below), however, ‘these monthly fluctuations tend to even out over the course of a year. This demonstrates the importance of not attributing too much significance to the suicide frequency in any one month’ (Coroners Court 2020a). The variation between months ‘usually results from random factors rather than underlying systemic issues or emerging clusters. The data therefore should be interpreted cautiously, with great care taken in drawing conclusions about any apparent increase or decrease that is observed’ (Coroners Court 2021).

Figure 1: Number of suspected deaths by suicide in Victoria, by month, 2016 to 2021

The figure shows the number of suspected deaths by suicide in Victoria, by month between 2016 and 2021. The monthly frequency of deaths suspected to have been by suicide has been relatively steady over the past five years with the number of suspected deaths by suicide varying between 38 in September 2017 and 74 in March 2020.

Figure 2: Cumulative number of suspected deaths by suicide in Victoria, by month, 2016 to 2021

The figure shows the cumulative number of suspected deaths by suicide in Victoria, by month between 2016 and 2021. The figure shows that, despite monthly variations, the cumulative number of suspected deaths by suicide evens out over the course of a year and the total number of suspected deaths by suicide each year from 2016 to 2020 was fairly consistent.

Data for each year from 2016-2020 and from 1 January to 31 August 2021 show that (Coroners Court. 2020b, 2021):

  • around three-quarters of suspected deaths by suicide are among males
  • the majority of suspected deaths by suicide for both males and females occur among those aged between 25 and 54
  • approximately two-thirds of suspected deaths by suicide occur in metropolitan locations.

Suspected deaths by suicide in Queensland

Data from the interim Queensland Suicide Register (iQSR) show that the number of suspected deaths from suicide from 1 January to 31 July 2020 (454) was similar to that of the same period in 2019 (445) and 2017 (456) (Leske et al. 2020).

Leske et al. have estimated monthly age-standardised suspected suicide rates in Queensland in 2020 for both males and females, taking into account population growth for more meaningful comparisons between years. Estimated rates for 2020 are similar to the previous 5 years; see Figures 2 and 3, replicated with permission from Leske et al. (2020) and including updated data for August 2020.

Figure 3: Age-standardised suspected deaths by suicide rate per 100,000, Queensland males, by month, 1 January 2015 to 31 August 2020

The figure shows the age-standardised suspected deaths by suicide rate per 100,000 for Queensland males, by month between 1 January 2015 and 31 August 2020.

Figure 4: Age-standardised suspected suicide rate per 100,000, Queensland females, by month, 1 January 2015 to 31 August 2020

The figure shows the age-standardised suspected suicide rate per 100,000 for Queensland females, by month between 1 January 2015 and 31 August 2020.

While data for Queensland do not show rises in suspected suicide rates compared with previous years, the 2020 iQSR reported that up until 31 July 2020, police officers mentioned COVID-19 in 32 of 454 suspected suicides (7%) (Leske et al. 2020). For more information see COVID-19.

Suspected deaths by suicide in New South Wales

The New South Wales Suicide Monitoring System, established in October 2020, reported 897 suspected deaths by suicide in NSW 2020. This is 46 lower than the number of deaths reported in 2019 (943) (NSW Ministry of Health 2021). The number of suspected deaths by suicide reported in New South Wales from 1 January to 31 July 2021 (522) is similar to the numbers reported for the same period in 2020 (509) and 2019 (504) (NSW Ministry of Health 2021).

Figure 5: Number of suspected deaths by suicide in New South Wales, by month, 2019 to 2021

The figure shows the number of suspected deaths by suicide in New South Wales, by month between 2019 and July 2021. Numbers ranged between 54 in February 2021 and 106 in January 2021.

Figure 6: Cumulative number of suspected deaths by suicide in New South Wales, by month, 2019 to 2021

The figure shows the cumulative number of suspected deaths by suicide in New South Wales, by month from 2019 and 2021. The figure shows that, despite monthly variations, the cumulative number of suspected deaths by suicide evens out over the course of a year.

In 2019, 2020 and from 1 January to 31 July 2021 (NSW Ministry of Health 2021):

  • around three-quarters of suspected deaths by suicide were among males
  • more than half of all suspected deaths by suicide occurred among those aged between 25 and 54
  • around half of suspected deaths by suicide occurred among residents of Greater Sydney.