The 2017 Causes of Death data was released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on 26 September 2018 in Catalogue 3303.0.
The summary prepared by Life in Mind and Mindframe represents suicide rates and trends in the 2017 (preliminary) data, trends by age group over time and state variations.
This is the third year that the ABS have released the preliminary data at an earlier date. Suicide data is now released nine months (in September) after end of year. Before 2016, suicide data was released 15 months after the end of each year.
This release includes 2016 and 2017 preliminary data, 2015 first-revision data and 2014 final data. The second and final revision for 2015 and the first revision for 2016 will be released in early 2019
Please note when using statistics
- Caution should be exercised in reporting and interpreting suicide and self-harm information.
- The reliability of suicide statistics is affected by a number of factors including differences in state-specific reporting methods across Australia, and delays in the post-mortem processing of possible suicides by coroners.
- The ABS has instituted a significant quality assurance process to improve the quality of coding of deaths data. This process involves updating preliminary statistics for two subsequent years following the initial release, to include ongoing open coronial cases.
- This is the third year that the preliminary data has been made available approximately six months earlier than previous years. The data shown here represents 2014 (final revision) and both 2015 (first revision) and 2016 and 2017 preliminary data. The first revision of 2016 and final revision of 2015 data will be available in early 2019.
- ABS advises that care should be taken when comparing suicide data since 2015 with all revised suicide data from 2006-2014, as the quality improvement review process on data pre-2015 has been finalised.
- Due to the relatively small numbers of suicides in some states and territories, even one or two deaths can have a significant impact on standardised suicide rates. Thus comparisons across Australia must be done cautiously.
- Data on suicides can be reported in different ways, including: the number of people who died by suicide; the age-standardised suicide rate (e.g. 7 per 100,000 people, this allows for the comparison of groups with different age structures and sizes); and as a percentage of deaths from all causes which were due to suicide.
- The comparison of international suicide statistics can be very difficult due to differences in procedures for coronial reporting and classifying deaths, definitions, time periods, methods of standardisation and the level of under counting.