The number of Australians who take their own lives each year has doubled over the past decade, according to a new study.
The figures, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, show the number of suicides has jumped from just under 5,000 in the year to June, 2013 to 6,000 last year.
Since then, the number has continued to rise, hitting 7,000 suicides in the first nine months of this year.
The rate has also risen across all age groups, with the largest increase in suicides among people aged 50 and over.
Deaths of Australian residents in the United States rose to an average of 14 per week last year, up from 10 per week in the previous year.
In contrast, suicide rates in Australia are almost three times lower.
Australia’s suicide rate was 1,731 per 100,000 people in 2017, compared with 1,270 in the U.S.
The data also showed suicide rates were rising in Western Australia and Tasmania.
In Tasmania, the suicide rate rose from 1,081 in the 12 months to June to 1,051 in July, according the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
In Western Australia, the rate increased by 0.2 per cent to 3,861 deaths.
In Western Australia the rate for people aged 65 and over increased from 1.6 per cent in the same period to 1.8 per cent.
Tasmanian Deputy Premier and Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said the rate was a reflection of a society that is “not prepared for” a population experiencing rising levels of depression and anxiety.
“There’s a long way to go before we can see the peak of mental health issues in this country,” he said.
Last year, Tasmania experienced its highest suicide rate in 50 years, according a report from the Tasmanian Mental Health Foundation.
Suicide rates also increased in Victoria and New South Wales, but both states have experienced decreases in the past year.
In Queensland, the overall suicide rate decreased by 6.5 per cent from the previous 12 months, the ABC reported.
Queensland also saw a decrease in the number who took their own life last year compared to the previous nine months.
In the state’s outer east, the death rate decreased from 4.6 to 3.3 per 100 of 1,000 residents.
Queenslanders had the highest suicide rates of any state and territory in the nation.
The ABC reported that suicide was the leading cause of death in the state, killing more than 11,000 Australians last year and the second leading cause after heart disease.
A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in March 2016 said people who committed suicide were more likely to be male, had a history of mental illness and had a family history of depression.
Other factors, such as poverty, were also linked to suicide, the study found.
The report also showed that suicide is one of the most common causes of death for young adults, with one in six young adults aged 18 to 24 reporting they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.
Topics:depression,suicide,death,health,mental-health,government-and-politics,australia,aurnews-university-2630,queensland,aussies-union,canberra-2600,quebec-2730,newcastle-2300,vicsource ABC News (AU)