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Intentional self-harm among older persons in Australia

Released May 2019
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deaths per week
deaths aged 65+ 2001 – 2016
were male aged 65+


Intentional self-harm is the 13th leading cause of death in Australia. In 2017, 3,128 people died from an act of intentional self-harm in Australia. While the highest frequency of intentional self-harm fatalities occurs among middle aged persons, rates among older persons remain high. Recent data indicates suicide rates for those aged 65 and over have remained consistent throughout 2013 – 2016, with increases for both males and females in the 75-79 year age bracket.

There were 5,686 intentional self-harm deaths of persons aged 65 years and over reported to a coroner from 2001 – 2016, comprising 14.3% of all reported intentional self-harm deaths. There was a consistent increase in the number of deaths per calendar year from 2007 (n=322) to 2013 (n=421).

Data sources

The data was obtained from the NCIS in January 2019. The data set contained every fatality of a person aged 65 years or over reported to an Australian coroner between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2016 that was coded as resulting from an act of intentional self-harm, and where the coronial investigation had concluded. Population data was sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. See explanatory notes for information on data sources and limitations. For further data, request a data report.

Reporting on suicide

Any reproduction or reporting on this fact sheet or the data contained within it should be aligned with the guidelines provided by Mindframe regarding reporting of suicide.


Content is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), unless otherwise stated. Attribution must be provided to the National Coronial Information System (NCIS).

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