Data shows increase in suicides in young women in Victoria

Data shows increase in suicides in young women in Victoria

mental health

More teenage girls and young women died by suicide in Victoria in 2021 compared to recent years, new coroners data reveals.

According to the Victorian suicides register, up to November, twelve females under the age of 18 died by suicide in the year. This compares to three in 2020, and eight in 2019.

The register also shows twenty-three women aged 18 to 24 died by suicide in Victoria in 2021, compared to fifteen in 2020 and seventeen in 2019.

This increase in 2021 was not seen in other age groups, with the number of suicides down for cohorts of women over the age of 25.  

Overall, the number of people who died by suspected suicide in 2021 (up to November) was 624, down by 37 from the previous year. It is also the lowest overall number recorded in a year since 2017.

The Victorian suicide register noted in its report that the data should be interpreted “cautiously” and increases or decreases do not necessarily indicate trends.

“Victoria’s suicide frequency varies quite substantially from month to month. Additionally, there can be substantial variation in the monthly and annual frequency of suicides within particular cohorts,” the report states.

“This variation, which is not unique to Victoria but is a feature of suicide data around Australia and internationally, usually results from random factors rather than underlying systemic issues or emerging clusters.

“The data therefore should be interpreted cautiously, with great care taken in drawing conclusions about any apparent increase or decrease that is observed.”

This week, Victoria announced it will deliver a Specialist Women’s Mental Health Service, the first of its kind in Australia. The $100 million investment will provide 35 acute mental health beds will be provided in Melbourne and Shepparton specifically to support women with a range of complex conditions. 

The service was one of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and aims to provide better mental health treatment for Victorian women. 

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact beyondblue on 1300 224 636, or Lifeline on 13 11 14. In an emergency, call 000.

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