Grief and suicide across the community and in particular groups at risk

Suicide affects people of all ages, races, socio-economic backgrounds and genders, it does not discriminate. While some groups in the community experience higher rates of suicide, this does not change the impact of suicide on people from any background grieving the loss of someone close.

In Australia, much of the work on suicide prevention and postvention (activities which reduce risk and promote healing after someone has taken their own life) has focussed on the younger people in our community for whom suicide is the leading cause of death. Yet suicide is also a significant issue for older Australians, particularly those aged over 85 years. In fact, while the number of older people who take their own lives is lower than that in the younger cohort, the rate of suicide in people over 85 years is higher than in those aged under 24.1

There are many factors that may contribute to older people taking their own lives including physical or economic dependency, deteriorating mental or physical health, accumulated grief, and loneliness or social isolation.

Regardless of the age at which a person takes their own life, the impact on people close to them can be devastating, and can affect the wellbeing of whole communities.

Although suicide can happen in any community and across all ages, genders and cultural groups, some particular communities and peoples can be at a higher risk of suicide due to a very complex mix of individual and societal factors. While general information about suicide, coping with suicide and supporting someone bereaved through suicide is relevant to these groups, it is helpful to understand some of the specific issues that contribute to the higher risk of suicide in these communities.

Below, we have identified some particular groups that face a higher risk of suicide. Click on the name of the group and specific information related to suicide will open in a new page.