The number and rate of deaths by suicide differs between states and territories and across different regions of Australia.
Patterns of deaths by suicide between states and territories can reveal insights that may be masked by results for the whole of Australia and may help to highlight different risk factors and assist in better targeting of suicide prevention activities.
In 2021, the age-standardised suicide rate ranged from 10.1 per 100,000 population in Victoria to 18.4 in the Northern Territory. The highest number of deaths by suicide was in New South Wales (880), followed by Queensland (783), Victoria (675), Western Australia (389) and South Australia (226).
For more information, visit Suicide deaths by states & territories and Suicide & self-harm by geography.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Age-standardised rates of Indigenous deaths by suicide have increased over time, from 22.7 per 100,000 population in 2013 to a peak of 27.9 in 2020 and declining slightly to 27.1 in 2021. This is more than double the rate for non-Indigenous suicide deaths in 2021 (11.8). In 2021, 196 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people died by suicide.
In the five years from 2017 to 2021, suicide rates for Indigenous Australians were highest for those aged 25–44 with 47.6 per 100,000 population. In comparison, the suicide rate across 2017 to 2021 for non-Indigenous Australians in the same age group was 16.2 per 100,000 population.
Suicide rates for young Indigenous Australians, aged 24 years and under, in the five years from 2017 to 2021 (16.6 per 100,000 population) were more than 3 times as high as non-Indigenous Australians in the same age-group for this period (5.3 per 100,000 population).
For more information, see Deaths by suicide amongst Indigenous Australians and Indigenous health and wellbeing.
How common is hospitalisation for intentional self-harm?
In Australia, there were more than 29,900 cases of intentional self-harm hospitalisations in 2020–21.
What are the sources of data on intentional self-harm?
Understanding the scale of the problem of intentional self-harm in Australia is difficult because many cases of self-harm are unreported, unless medical treatment is required.
Only those patients admitted to hospital for intentional self-harm are currently routinely reported in national data sets. Hospital admissions data are collated as an annual release with a 12-month lag. Data are also available from ambulance attendance records and national population surveys such as the Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (Department of Health 2015).
Visit Intentional self-harm hospitalisation and Ambulance attendances for more information.
Sex and age differences
Rates of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm are higher for females. This is the opposite of what is seen in deaths by suicide, where rates are higher for males. This may, in part, be due to differences between methods used by males and females – with males tending to use more lethal methods than females. Other possible contributing factors include the fact that some self-harm occurs with no suicidal intent and that differentiating out suicide attempts from other types of self-harm cannot be easily identified in the current national emergency department data collection. (Figure 3).
Young people have the highest rates of hospitalisation for intentional self-harm
In 2020–21, the age and sex-specific rate was highest for females aged 15–19 (698 hospitalisations per 100,000 population), followed by females aged 20–24 (363 per 100,000 population). For more information see Intentional self-harm hospitalisations by age groups.
Figure 3: Intentional self-harm hospitalisations, by age and sex, Australia, 2008–09 to 2020–21