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Separation is recognised to be the one of the most frequently reported life events among suicide attempters. According to the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRP), between 2002-2011, 23.9% of males and 18.1% of females who died by suicide were recorded of experiencing relationship separation based on the Queensland Suicide Register.
If we assume those percentages are repeated across Australia, we can estimate that around 500 men and 125 women who die by suicide every year have experienced relationship separation.
In 2010, AISRP published research into suicidality in men and women in the six months after separation.
This research found that separated men reported more suicidality (thinking about, planning and attempting suicide) than separated women. This is noteworthy as women in the general population are found to report more suicidality than men.
In total, 4.8% of separated males interviewed had attempted suicide, this is 16 times higher than the Australian Bureau of statistics estimate that 0.3% of the male population attempt suicide each year.
The most common stressful experiences reported by separated men who felt suicidal included:
- Feelings of loss and loneliness
- Loss of social network
- Financial difficulties
- Legal negotiations in obtaining a divorce
- Custody/residence dispute with children
- Reduced contact with children
- Making the separation public
- Ten years of suicide mortality in Australia: Socio-economic and psychiatric factors in Queensland(AISRP 2015)
- The Mental Health of Australians 2 (ABS May 2009)
- Fluctuations of suicidality in the aftermath of a marital separation (AISRP 2010)