Australia: Associated Causes of Suicide

Excerpt from Australian Social Trends 2000. Published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In 1997 the Australian Bureau of Statistics began tabulating all causes and conditions reported on death certificates. This process of recording multiple causes of death was introduced to give more detailed information about the underlying cause of death. It is now possible to identify not only the immediate cause of death but also other associated or contributory causes involved that may have indirectly influenced the death.

In 1998, 15% of men and 18% of women who committed suicide also had an associated or contributory diagnosis of a mental disorder, including 9% of men and 5% of women for whom substance use (usually abuse of alcohol or other drugs) was a factor. A further 4% of men and 9% of women who committed suicide were classified as having a depressive disorder.

In 1998, approximately 4% of males and 5% of females who committed suicide also had a disease of the circulatory system mentioned on their death certificate as an associated or contributory cause. No femailes, and less than 1% of males had the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) mentioned on their death certificate.

These results are supported by findings from the 1997 Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing of Adults, which indicate that people with a mental disorder were nearly seven times more likely to have attempted suicide in the previous 12 months than people without a mental disorder.

Return to Australia: Suicides Since 1921

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