Gerry Georgatos speaking on the suicide crises at a University of South Australia forum - "it is one of the most pressing issues of our times" - Photo, Fernando Goncalves

Gerry Georgatos speaking on the suicide crises at a University of South Australia forum – “it is one of the most pressing issues of our times” – Photo, Fernando Goncalves

There should be just as much focus on suicide prevention as there is with trying to prevent homicides and domestic violence. All lives matter. There is no greater legacy that any Government can have than in the saving of lives.

During the last ten years Australian homicide rates have been decreasing though tragically the number of women murdered by a current or former partner has been increasing. Domestic violence takes a life every eight days and many are calling it a national crisis. Every death is a tragedy. Suicide takes seven lives each day.

Comparatively, Australia has a low homicide rate – 1.1 homicides per 100,000 population while Venezuela has a homicide rate of 53.7 per 100,000 population. The majority of middle and high income nations have a homicide rate between 5 and 15 per 100,000 population.

There were 254 homicides in Australia in 2012.

There were 2,535 suicides in Australia in 2012.

Our news media and Governments focus in on homicides but barely whisper a mention of the suicides – it should be that every life matters equally.

Where there is a homicide thereabouts every day and a half in Australia, there are seven suicides each day.

Where homicide rates have been decreasing, suicide rates have been increasing – with the suicide rate at a ten year peak. The suicide rate is at 11 per 100,000 population, up from 9.9 in 2011.

1,901 Australian males suicided in 2012 – 16.8 per 100,000 population.

634 Australian females suicided in 2012 – 5.6 per 100,000 population.

The rate of suicide is ten times the rate of homicides.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the ten year period to June 30, 2012, there were 2,631 homicides. But there were 2,535 suicides in 2012 alone.

Of the 2,631 homicides, 41 per cent were domestic violence related deaths or 1,088 domestic violence deaths over the ten year period, with the majority of these the deaths of women.

There is a domestic violence related death – by a partner or former partner – every eight days. Domestic disputes are also a factor in many suicides, with partners, mostly males, taking their own lives where all things seem bleak.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australian teenagers aged 14 to 18 years.

Suicide is a leading cause of death for Australians aged 14 to 50 years of age.

Suicide takes more life years than any other leading cause of death – for Australians who die by suicide, the average loss of life years per person is estimated at more than 30 years. For Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders who die by suicide, the average loss of life years per person is estimated at 50 years. To put this into context, the average loss of life years for Australians who die from cancer, per person is 8 years. With heart disease it is 4 years.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples die by suicide at horrific rates – from a racialised lens among the world’s highest rates. Officially, one in 20 of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander deaths are reported as suicide. This is horrific, a humanitarian crisis, but effectively little spoken about . My research estimates that the suicide rate is higher than one in 20. There are under-reporting issues. I estimate that the suicide death rate is closer to one in 10.

The Kimberley has a suicide rate of nearly 40 per 100,000 but when disaggregated to the region’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples their suicide rate is more than 70 per 100,000. This suicide rate is higher than the world’s highest national suicide rate – 44 per 100,000 (Guyana) – and higher than the world’s highest national homicide rate (Venezuela). Far North Queensland reports a similar circumstance to the Kimberley. Australia is the world’s 12th largest economy, has the world’s highest median wage and is one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Every life matters and our Governments and our media need to understand this – society must have compassion and a place for everyone. Society should be geared to improve the lot of the human condition for everyone and put people above everything else. People need people.

In Australia, in general, one in five women experience sexual violence and one in twenty men experience sexual violence. One in four women and one in six men experience emotional abuse. One in three women experience physical violence and one in two men experience physical violence. We have to work together to improve society. On average there are seven suicides each day. On average there are up to 250 attempted suicides each day while it is estimated that each day more than 300 people devise a suicide plan. It is estimated that daily more than 1,000 people contemplate suicide.


Gerry Georgatos is a researcher in suicide prevention and in racism


Lifeline’s 24-hour hotline, 13 11 14

Crisis Support and Suicide Prevention Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636


Other articles and media on the suicide crisis and suicide prevention by Gerry Georgatos:

Truth, not lies, on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander suicide rates

Plato said engage with our politicians or risk being governed by the dumb – the suicide crises

Another misguided reductionist plan to reduce rates of suicide self-harm

The leading cause of death – for 15 to 44 year old Australians – is suicide | The Stringer

People strengthening people focus on suicide prevention

Understanding difference and unfairness is a first step in suicide prevention | The Stringer

Taboo, stigma and shame need to get out of the way for suicide prevention | The Stringer

Suicide is heading to a humanitarian crisis – it is a leading cause of death | The Stringer

Suicides are preventable – here is what we must begin to do | The Stringer

The extensiveness of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander suicides – 1 in 20 | The Stringer

Preventing suicide – “no greater legacy” | The Stringer

Understanding Australia’s suicide crises

Suicides, high among overseas born and second generation Australians

Child suicidal ideation on the increase

It is racism killing our people – suicides born of racism

Kimberley suicide rate – one of the world’s highest – Yiriman is the way to go

My Country – But look how I am forced to live

What will it take to end Aboriginal disadvantage, the inequalities and the various crises?

What sort of Australia is this? Seven homeless children in an asbestos slum

Six homeless children fighting for a better tomorrow

Quality of life for Australians 2nd only to Norway but for Aboriginal Peoples 122nd

Dumbartung convenes suicide crisis summit

Suicide attempts among women on the rise

Australia’s Aboriginal children detained at the world’s highest rates

Culture should not be denied – change needs unfolding, not impost

Everyone in the Territory doing well, except for Aboriginal Peoples

Australia’s Aboriginal children, the world’s highest suicide rate

Wes Morris slams government suicide prevention programs

How many more suicides will it take? How many more deaths?

Hopelessness in suicide riddled communities

More government neglect of Aboriginal children

In identity lay the answers – ATSI suicides

$25.4 billion spent on Aboriginal disadvantage is a lie

Beagle Bay to State Parliament – Farrer speaks out on suicides

Government to address Aboriginal suicides


996 Aboriginal deaths by suicide – another shameful Australian record

996 deaths by suicide – one in 24 die by suicide

Australia’s Aboriginal suicide epidemic – whose child will be the next to die?

77 Aboriginal suicides in South Australia alone

Kimberley’s Aboriginal peoples old at 45 years

Australia, the mother of all jailers of Aboriginal people

Close the gap failed

Despite what’s being reported, life expectancy not improving for ATSI peoples – 1 in 3 dead by 45 years of age

Tumult of death – 400 suicides in last three years

30 suicides in the last three months as we wait for promises to be kept

Suicide crisis – genocidal numbers

Suicide crisis – from tragic to catastrophic

Suicide crisis needs real funding and actions

Hundreds more will suicide if we wait for 2015

Nothing will be done about suicides crisis

Scullion bent on saving lives

Elders across Australia say governments need to listen to them on how to address youth suicide

Suicides – western society and ancient cultures clash

If we are serious about suicide prevention

Australia’s suicide crisis should not be played down – the media must highlight it

From my father’s death bed to the must-do to end the suicides

Governments promise on ending suicides must come good now

More confirmation of what everyone knows, was suicide prevention inadequate

The must-do need to listen and trust if suicides crisis is to end

Working together – mental health and suicide prevention roundtable

Break the taboo around suicides, we reduce suicides

Suicide crises born of Australia’s inhumanity

Suicides – children

Suicides crisis linked to incarceration

Wes Morris urges funding for cultural methodologies

The betrayal of our children – the Northern Territory

New project offers hope to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicides

Depression and suicide prevention must be top of the agenda this century

World Suicide Prevention Day – suicide takes more lives than war

Western Australia – 1 in 13 in a jail, a bullshit state of affairs

Forgotten children of the promised land – the fight to save rural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Yiriman saving lives in the midst of the Kimberley’s suicide crises

Healing Halls Creek

The smaller a community, the less likely a suicide

Overcoming disadvantage report shows disadvantage not overcome

600 Black deaths in custody by 2025 – jail numbers to soar

Get out of the way – Aboriginal suicide rates will drop

A nation shamed when the solution for its children is homelessness

Christmas, a period of vulnerability for many

Stop peddling lies $30 billion spent on Indigenous disadvantage is a lie

To end our trauma government must stop the assault on our people and our culture

In Australia there is the Aboriginal rights struggle

Kirstie Parker, Mick Gooda say enough of fine words – close the gap a big fat lie

Highest child removal rates in the world worse than Stolen Generations


Other media:

A nation shamed when child sees suicide as the solution

Families urged to look after each other as suicide rates soar

Response to rash of suicides in remote WA regions

ABC 7:30 Report – Deaths in custody and jail rates



Tiga Bayles and Gerry Georgatos discuss the suicide crises

The Wire – The suicide crisis

Unpaid fines leading Indigenous over representation

Seven per cent of the Kimberley homeless

One in 20 First Peoples deaths classify as suicide