The Age (Melbourne), 19 April 2001
Divorced men head suicide list
By Darren Gray
Divorced men are at least three times as likely to commit suicide as any other group,
according to a review of suicide patterns in Australia.
The Institute of Health and Welfare found that more than 41,000 Australians committed
suicide over the past 20 years, more than seven people every day.
The report found suicide rates were highest among men over 80 and those aged 20 to 39.
Men aged 20 to 24 had the highest individual suicide rate in 1998, at 42.3 suicides per
100,000 people, compared to 18.4 for those aged 15 to 19.
The report showed that overall suicide rates jumped by about 9 per cent between 1996
But Victoria has the lowest suicide rate of the six states, with 12.4 per 100,000
people, noticeably lower than Queensland's 16.6 per 100,000.
The study also found:
Hanging is the most common method of suicide for men and women.
For every female suicide there are four male suicides.
In 1998, 2683 Australians committed suicide.
Suicide accounted for 33.8 per cent of injury deaths in 1998 and 2 percent of all
Married women have the lowest suicide rate in the community.
The report's co-author, James Harrison, said divorced and never-married men had been
found to have "higher suicide rates than married men".
The suicide rate in 1998 for divorced men was 134.1 per 100,000 people, compared to
39.3 for never-married men and 13 for widowed men. Among women, divorcees also had the
highest suicide rate, at 11.1 per 100,000 people.
Professor Harrison said suicide killed more people than road accidents. The reduction
in the road toll could be copied by a strong public health effort to curb suicide.
"It (the suicide rate) has been lower in the past; why shouldn't it get lower in the
future?" he said.
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Understanding Suicide, etc... material
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