Numbers of suicides 2001 to 2017

Each annual release of this report will update previously published numbers of suicides, where updates have been made to the source data. Updates to these numbers may have an impact on the rates and ratios used for comparison to the broader Australian population, which are calculated using counts of suicide.

For information on interpreting these results, including updates to previously published data, see Box 3 and the Technical Notes.

Numbers of suicides by year (men and women)

From 2001 to 2017 there were 419 certified suicide deaths among men and women with at least 1 day of Australian Defence Force (ADF) service since 1 January 2001. Of these, 229 (55%) occurred among ex-serving personnel (Table 1).

From 2001 to 2017, the ex-serving population increased each year as more discharged personnel were added to that population. Changes in numbers of suicides over time need to be interpreted in the context of changes in the size of the population (particularly the increases in the size of the ex-serving group over the analysis period).

Table 1. Number of suicide deaths, ADF service status groups, male and female, 2001 to 2017

Year

Serving and Reserve(a)

Ex-serving(b)

Total(c)

2001

n.p.

n.p.

19

2002

n.p.

n.p.

15

2003

8

10

18

2004

n.p.

n.p.

15

2005

n.p.

n.p.

9

2006(d)

7

6

13

2007(e)

11

9

20

2008

9

11

20

2009

13

13

26

2010

13

14

27

2011

11

13

24

2012

7

17

24

2013

12

22

34

2014

12

20

32

2015

9

32

41

2016

15

25

40

2017

15

27

42

 n.p. Not published because of small numbers or confidentiality.

  1. Consists of suicide deaths in men and women for serving and reserve ADF personnel.
  2. Consists of suicide deaths in men and women for ex-serving ADF personnel.
  3. Consists of suicide deaths in men and women, for all ADF status groups combined (serving, reserve and ex-serving personnel).
  4. From 2006 onwards, the ABS implemented a revisions process for coroner-certified deaths (such as suicides). This improved data quality by enabling additional suicide deaths to be identified beyond initial processing (ABS 2018). For detailed information see Technical Notes.
  5.  New ABS coding guidelines were applied for deaths registered from 1 January 2007. The new guidelines improve data quality by enabling deaths to be coded to suicide by ABS mortality coders if evidence indicates the death was from intentional self-harm (ABS 2018). For detailed information see Technical Notes.

Note: The ex-serving population increased each year in the study period (2001–2017), as more personnel were discharged from the ADF.
Source: AIHW analysis of linked PMKeyS-NDI data 2001–2017.

Number of suicides by service status: 3-year aggregation (men and women)

For confidentiality reasons relating to small numbers, total numbers of suicides are reported in 3-year rolling aggregations from 2001. Aggregation allows for reporting of a greater level of detail than is possible when reporting in single years (Table 2).

From 2001 to 2017, the ex-serving population increased each year as more discharged personnel were added to that population. Changes in numbers of suicides over time need to be interpreted in the context of changes in the size of the population (particularly the increases in the size of the ex-serving group over the analysis period). Suicide deaths recorded in any year will contribute to multiple rows in Table 2. As such, the sum of any column will be greater than the total number of suicide deaths recorded for that service group over the study period 2001 to 2017.

Table 2. Number of suicide deaths, ADF service status groups, male and female by 3-year aggregations, 2001–2003 to 2015–2017

Years

Serving(a)

Reserve(a)

Ex-serving(a)

Women

Under 30:
All service groups

Under 30: Ex-serving

Total(a)

2001-03

27

13

12

n.p.

31

8

52

2002-04

22

12

14

n.p.

24

8

48

2003-05

16

8

18

n.p.

25

12

42

2004-06(b)

13

10

14

n.p.

17

7

37

2005-07(b)(c)

10

12

20

n.p.

22

11

42

2006-08(b)(c)

12

15

26

n.p.

23

10

53

2007-09(c)

15

18

33

n.p.

26

11

66

2008-10

17

18

38

n.p.

25

13

73

2009-11

22

15

40

5

28

14

77

2010-12

18

13

44

n.p.

25

14

75

2011-13

16

14

52

9

28

17

82

2012-14

13

18

59

8

31

20

90

2013-15

18

15

74

10

35

24

107

2014-16

21

15

77

10

36

20

113

2015-17

27

12

84

11

33

17

123

n.p.   Not published because of small numbers or confidentiality.

  1. From 2006 onwards, the ABS implemented a revisions process for coroner-certified deaths (such as suicides). This improved data quality by enabling additional suicide deaths to be identified beyond initial processing (ABS 2018). For detailed information see Technical Notes.
  2. New ABS coding guidelines were applied for deaths registered from 1 January 2007. The new guidelines improve data quality by enabling deaths to be coded to suicide by ABS mortality coders if evidence indicates the death was from intentional self-harm (ABS 2018). For detailed information see Technical Notes.

Notes

  1. For privacy reasons, numbers of suicides for individual service status groups by year are not published. This table presents suicide deaths by 3-year aggregation, so suicide deaths recorded in any year will contribute to multiple rows in the table. As such, the sum of any column will be greater than the total number of suicide deaths recorded for that service group over the study period 2001 to 2017.
  2. The ex-serving population increased each year in the study period (2001–2017), as personnel discharged from the ADF.

Source: AIHW analysis of linked PMKeyS—NDI data 2001–2017.

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