Understanding suicide rates in different occupational and industry groups

What is this research about?

Suicide is a major public health issue and one of the leading causes of death amongst working age adults. While there has been a lot of focus on the tragedy of youth suicide, evidence suggests that more than half of all suicide deaths in 2018 (54.8%) occurred between the ages of 30 and 59 (ABS, 2018). In addition, international evidence has demonstrated that particular occupational groups appear to be at increased risk of suicide compared to workers from other occupations.

Further research that examines suicide amongst broader occupational categories, and within industry groups in Australia will support a directed effort toward suicide prevention initiatives.

What will the researchers do?

This research will analyse the national coronial data set to understand the landscape of suicides and the associated occupation at the time of death.

It will examine suicide rates between 2001 and 2016 amongst different occupational groups, to investigate whether, and how, suicide rates may be changing over time.

This research will help quantify the comparative rates of suicide between individuals in different occupational and industry groups and identify whether specific groups of workers are at higher risk of suicide compared to those in other occupations.

It will explore the main factors associated with suicidality in at-risk occupational groups, including individual demographic characteristics and work-related variables unique to the workplace.

Conclusive data and information will guide coordinated action to support those industries most impacted by suicide.

Research partners and stakeholders

Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales


Project commenced: September 2020

Project completion: December 2021

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