Indigenous suicide: Finding a catalyst for action

Indigenous suicide: Finding a catalyst for action Report

Occasional paper

  • Author(s): Dillon, Anthony
  • Tertiary Author(s): Centre for Independent Studies
  • Published: 2021

Abstract: Death by suicide is always a difficult topic to discuss. It affects those left behind like no other death. Suicide of a non-Indigenous person is no less tragic than the suicide of an Indigenous person, but best available statistics show that Indigenous people are far more likely to take their own lives, and so it warrants additional attention. Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that there were 27.1 Indigenous suicide deaths per 100,000 persons in 2019, compared with 12.9 non-Indigenous suicides per 100,000 people in the same time period. A reduction in the suicide rate among Indigenous Australians was included as a specific target area when the Closing the Gap initiative was updated in July 2020. The most recent Productivity Commission report on mental health stated that “suicide is the fifth leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, compared with the twelfth for non-Indigenous people”. The situation is even more dire for younger males (15–44 years), as shown in the Figure below taken from the report. In documenting the problem of suicide among the Indigenous population, particularly youth, a 2019 systematic review argued that the term “crisis” is appropriate, given that young Indigenous Australians not only die by suicide at significantly higher rates than their non-Indigenous peers, but also do so at an increasingly younger age, particularly in remote areas.

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Suggested Citation
Dillon, Anthony, 2021, Indigenous suicide: Finding a catalyst for action, Report, viewed 30 November 2023,

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