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since June 19, 2001


Divorced men head suicide list in Australia


The Age (Melbourne), 19 April 2001

Divorced men head suicide list

By Darren Gray


Divorced men are at least three times as likely to commit suicide as any other group, according to a review of suicide patterns in Australia.

The Institute of Health and Welfare found that more than 41,000 Australians committed suicide over the past 20 years, more than seven people every day.

The report found suicide rates were highest among men over 80 and those aged 20 to 39.

Men aged 20 to 24 had the highest individual suicide rate in 1998, at 42.3 suicides per 100,000 people, compared to 18.4 for those aged 15 to 19.

The report showed that overall suicide rates jumped by about 9 per cent between 1996 and 1997.

But Victoria has the lowest suicide rate of the six states, with 12.4 per 100,000 people, noticeably lower than Queensland's 16.6 per 100,000.

The study also found:

Hanging is the most common method of suicide for men and women.

For every female suicide there are four male suicides.

In 1998, 2683 Australians committed suicide.

Suicide accounted for 33.8 per cent of injury deaths in 1998 and 2 percent of all deaths.

Married women have the lowest suicide rate in the community.

The report's co-author, James Harrison, said divorced and never-married men had been found to have "higher suicide rates than married men".

The suicide rate in 1998 for divorced men was 134.1 per 100,000 people, compared to 39.3 for never-married men and 13 for widowed men. Among women, divorcees also had the highest suicide rate, at 11.1 per 100,000 people.

Professor Harrison said suicide killed more people than road accidents. The reduction in the road toll could be copied by a strong public health effort to curb suicide. "It (the suicide rate) has been lower in the past; why shouldn't it get lower in the future?" he said.

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Related Site:

Here for life

Understanding Suicide, etc... material

The media release on   which the article is based contains information on how the report can be obtained

See also:

Poster: Save the Males

Youth Suicide and Self-Injury Australia,
by James Harrison, Jerry Moller, Stan Bordeaux

Completed Suicides in Western Australian Youth

Suicides in Vietnam veterans’ children a continuing problem

High suicide numbers in the children of Vietnam veterans is likely to be a continuing problem, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

A 1999 Institute report confirmed that suicide rates in the children of Vietnam veterans are three times that of the general community.

The latest report, Suicide in Vietnam Veterans’ Children, commissioned by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, shows that this figure, and associated patterns of suicide, remained unchanged from 1988 to 1997.

Australian Demographics and Suicide Statistics

Australian Bureau of Statistics


For 2001, (the latest year available) there were 2454 suicides registered, compared with 2363 for the year 2000. The age standardised rate for the year 2001 (12.5 deaths per 100,000 persons) was 15% lower than it was in 1997 (14.6 deaths per 100,000) when the highest ever recorded number of 2720 suicides were registered; and 2.2% higher than the 2000 age standardised rate of 12.2 per 100,000 persons.


Over the period 1991 to 2001 male suicides have outnumbered female suicides by a factor of approximately four. This ratio was fairly consistent over all age groups. While publicity as focussed on youth suicide in recent years, the age group with the highest age-specific death rate in 2001 was the 25-34 year age group with 20.6 per 100,000, followed by the 35-44 year age group with a rate of 18.9 per 100,000. Numerically these two age groups accounted for 47% of total suicide deaths in 2001.
(see graphs)


Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) is a method used to measure the extent of premature mortality associated with various causes of mortality. This measurement assumes that premature mortality is any death between ages 1 and 75 years for both males and females. In 2001:

  • Male suicide accounted for 5.5% of total male deaths 1 to 75 years of age but was responsible for 13% of the total Years of Potential Life Lost.

  • Female suicide accounted for 2.5% of total female deaths 1 to 75 years of age but was responsible for 6% of the total Years of Potential Life Lost.

  • Suicide as a proportion of total YPLL has risen from 8.7% to 10.6% over the period 1991-2001

Back to Index of Health Issues

Posted 2001 04 20
2004 11 17 (added reference to Information Paper Suicides 2001; ABS)