Useful statistics

The Mental Health Commission is asked to provide information and statistics on a range of subjects related to mental health and wellbeing, alcohol and other drugs, by the media.

Below is a selection of the key statistics that may be of interest to journalists:


Tragically, in 2017, across Australia, 3,128 people died from intentional self-harm (suicide):

  • There were 409 deaths by suicide registered in Western Australia in 2017 rising from 371 in 2016. This was 2.8% of total deaths in Western Australia and 13.1% of all suicide deaths in Australia.
  • The number of reported suicide deaths in Western Australia (409) is over two and a half times the number of fatalities on Western Australian roads (161) for the same year.
  • While suicide accounted for only a relatively small proportion (2.8%) of deaths due to all causes in Western Australia (14,494), suicide is responsible for a disproportionate number of deaths in younger age cohorts.
  • In 2017, suicide was the leading cause of death among persons 15-44 years of age. The median age of death for suicide was 43.5 compared to 80.9 years for all deaths.
  • Deaths from suicide among males occur at a rate more than three times that of females. In 2017, the Australian standardised suicide rate was 19.1 per 100,000 males, compared with 6.2 per 100,000 females; and
  • In 2017, suicide ranked as the fifth leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders across Australia, compared to a ranking of 13th for non-Aboriginal people.

(Source: ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2017)


One in five Australians aged 16 to 85 years experience mental health issues in any given year (i.e. one of the common forms of mental illness - anxiety, affective or mood disorders, and substance use disorders)

(Source: Results from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics)


The 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey states, of Western Australians aged 14 years and older: 

  • 37.3% reported drinking alcohol at risky levels for single occasion harm at least once in the previous 12 months;
  • 14.7% reported smoking at least once in the previous 12 months;
  • 11.6% reported using cannabis in the previous 12 months;
  • 3.7% reported using pain-killers/analgesics and opioids for non-medical purposes (excludes over the counter medication) in the previous 12 months;
  • 2.7% had used meth/amphetamine in the previous 12 months; and
  • 0.2% had used heroin in the previous 12 months. (Please note that due to the small sample size Western Australian prevalence estimates for heroin have a high level of sampling error and needs to be interpreted with caution.)

(Source: National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016)



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