The use of mental health services, psychological distress, loneliness, suicide, ambulance attendances and COVID-19

While there has been a rise in the use of mental health services and an increase in psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic there is no evidence to date that COVID-19 has been associated with a rise in suspected deaths by suicide in 2020 and 2021, see Suspected deaths by suicide. Preliminary national mortality data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 2019 and 2020 show that the rate of death by suicide in Australia was lower in 2020 (12.1 per 100,000 population) than in 2019 (12.9 per 100,000 population), see Deaths by suicide over time.

Deaths referred to the coroner where initial investigation points to suicide are referred to as ‘suspected deaths by suicide’. It can take a number of years for the coronial process to determine if suicide was the cause of death in a particular case. These data are not directly comparable with coroner-certified deaths as reported in Deaths by suicide in Australia or published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as ‘Causes of Death, Australia’.