Suicide rate hits 10-year high and dementia poised to become leading cause of death []


The number of Australians taking their own lives has hit a 10-year high, while dementia is tipped to overtake heart disease as the nation’s leading cause of death within five years.

The number of suicide deaths climbed above 3000 in 2015 for the first time, rising more than 5% in 12 months, official figures show.

Suicide was the leading cause of death for 15-44 year olds, with males three times more likely than females to take their own lives.

Suicide rates were highest in the Northern Territory, while Queensland recorded the greatest increase in deaths.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that while suicide accounted for less than 2% of overall deaths in Australia in 2015, it claimed the lives of a third of those aged 15-24 and more than a quarter of 25-34 year olds.

Mental health groups were dismayed by the rising rates and called for a new national approach to suicide prevention.

The chairman of beyondblue, Jeff Kennett, said the Senate should set up a special commission to combat suicide, while Lifeline wants a national summit.

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