National suicide data

Why is data important?

Timely and accurate data is essential in assisting suicide prevention efforts. Data helps to identify current needs and priority population groups, determine risk factors for suicide, and monitor progress and trends.

Data plays a pivotal role in government decision-making and the operations of organisations, businesses, communities and the media involved in mental health and suicide prevention. It can be utilised by these entities in different ways:

Government and policy makers

  • Informed decisions - Governments and policymakers require data to evidence-informed decisions
  • Identifying vulnerabilities - Data allows for the identification of and response to emerging vulnerabilities in society
  • Demonstrating effectiveness - Through data, governments can demonstrate the effectiveness of their prevention efforts and interventions.

Organisations, businesses, and communities

  • Targeted interventions - These entities can use data to identify current trends and create targeted interventions for at-risk population groups
  • Assessing effectiveness - Data can be used to assess the effectiveness of these interventions
  • Data-driven adjustments - Based on assessments, these entities can make data-driven adjustments to their practices to enhance the impact of their interventions
  • Supporting research and policy advocacy - Through data collection, further research initiatives can be supported, leading to evidence-informed policy reforms
  • Providing resources and support - Data can increase the understanding of unique challenges faced by different groups, ensuring appropriate resources and support systems are put in place.

Media and communications

  • Awareness campaigns - Media and communications organisations can leverage data to create targeted public awareness campaigns catering to the needs of specific population groups.
  • Public perception and stigma reduction - Data can be used to understand the public's perception of mental health and suicide, informing strategies to reduce stigma and misconceptions.
  • Promoting support systems - Media outlets can utilise data to highlight the availability and effectiveness of support systems, encouraging individuals to seek help when needed.

Interpretation and application of suicide data

The data presented by various organisations are collected using different methods over different time periods. Therefore the data presented in the systems are not directly comparable with each other.

Life in Mind interprets suicide data as part of its work to provide Australian suicide prevention services and the community with a comprehensive online portal to inform their activities. Life in Mind supports coordinated, consistent messaging around suicide prevention through the National Communications Charter.

While suicide data can improve media communications and raise community awareness, care is necessary when discussing suicide.

In this section

Australian Bureau of Statistics

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Causes of Death data include the number of deaths by suicide, at national and state and territory levels, by sex, selected age groups, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is an independent government agency that collects and collates data on health and welfare issues, including suicide and self harm

National Coronial Information System (NCIS)

The National Coronial Information System (NCIS) was launched in 2000 as a resource for the collection, storage and access of coronial data.

State-based data

Most states and territories in Australia have established suicide monitoring systems to collect real-time data and information on suicides. These can be used to assist service providers, policy makers and researchers.