Suicide and intentional self-harm
Deaths by suicide are preventable. Reducing deaths by suicide and suicidal behaviour among Indigenous Australians is a major concern for many Indigenous communities and a public health priority for all Australian governments.
Significant and sustained reduction in suicide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people towards zero is one of the targets in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
If at any point you feel worried about harming yourself while viewing the information on this website—or if you think someone else may be in danger—please stop reading and seek help.
In 2021, 5.3% (196 deaths) of all deaths among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were due to suicide (AIHW 2022a).
- Suicide rates for Indigenous males were highest in age group 35–44 (78 deaths per 100,000). For Indigenous females, the suicide rate was highest among those aged 15–24 (27 deaths per 100,000) (Figure LM 13a).
- New South Wales recorded the lowest suicide rate at 21 deaths per 100,000, while Western Australia recorded the highest suicide rate at 35 deaths per 100,000 (Figure LM 13b; ABS 2022a).
From 2001 to 2021, age-standardised suicide rates among Indigenous Australians varied between 15 deaths per 100,000 (76 deaths) in 2003 to 28 deaths per 100,000 (197 deaths) in 2020 (Figure LM 13c).
In 2020–21, among Indigenous Australians:
- There were 2,811 hospitalisations due to intentional self-harm (rate of 326 per 100,000).
- Females (1,758 hospitalisations or 408 per 100,000) had a higher rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations than males (1,053 hospitalisations or 244 per 100,000).
- The rate of hospitalisations due to intentional self-harm was highest for those aged 15–19 (746 per 100,000 or 638 hospitalisations) and lowest for those aged 0–14 (61 per 100,000 or 173 hospitalisations) (Figure LM 14a).
- The rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations among Indigenous Australians has increased from 203 per 100,000 (1,380 hospitalisations) in 2008–09 to 326 per 100,000 (2,811 hospitalisations) in 2020–21 (Figure LM 14b).
The AIHW has established the National Suicide and Self-harm Monitoring System as part of the national effort to address suicide and self-harm in Australia. The system will improve the quality, accessibility and timeliness of data on deaths by suicide and on self-harming and suicidal behaviours. For more information see the National Suicide and Self-harm Monitoring System.