Adelaide’s #1 in Nationally Accredited First Aid Courses

Adelaide’s #1 in Nationally Accredited First Aid Courses

Leading Causes of Death in Australia

The way Australians live has changed and so have our leading causes of death. Understanding mortality rates and how to reduce them is vital to maintaining a healthy future. 

Leading causes of death

The leading causes of death in high-income countries, according to The World Health Organization in 2020, were:

  1. Ischaemic Heart Disease
  2. Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias
  3. Stroke
  4. Trachea, Bronchus, and Lung Cancers
  5. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  6. Lower respiratory infections
  7. Colon and Rectum Cancers
  8. Kidney Diseases
  9. Hypertensive Heart Disease
  10. Diabetes Mellitus


Between 2000 and 2019, the number of deaths caused by strokes and ischaemic heart disease decreased, yet 2.9 million people died from it in 2019. Alzheimer’s overtook stroke as the second highest cause of fatality within Australia in 2019. Globally, Alzheimer’s was responsible for 65% of deaths among women in that year.

The causes of death have changed dramatically in the last two decades. Deaths from HIV/Aids have been reduced by 51% globally, and Kidney disease has risen from the world’s 13th leading cause of death to the 10th.

Mortality had increased overall from 813,000 in 2000 to 1.3 million in 2019.

Intentional Self Harm

The World Health Organization reported that 800,000 people died of suicide worldwide in 2016. Suicide is a serious issue affecting people of all ages, and the highest proportion of deaths by suicide occurs among young and middle-aged adults.

In 2018, 75% of people who died from suicide were male (AIHW,2021).

Suicide rates in Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people

The rate of indigenous suicide in Australia has increased over time. From 2014-2018, the rate of indigenous suicide was double that of non-indigenous Australians. (AIHW,2021).


Where can I get help?

Mental health is a serious issue that affects a significant portion of the population. If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, there are many resources to help them:

Head to Health
Beyond Blue 
Black Dog Institute

First Aid Pro also offers courses in Mental Health First AidYouth Mental First Aid, and Mental Health First Aid Refreshers.

The courses will help you learn how to recognise and respond to signs of distress, including where to go for professional help and what treatments are available.

If you want to know how to help a friend or family member recognize and overcome the disabling distress of common mental health conditions, Mental Health First Aid is for you. The course benefits people who manage staff members and those working in government, social services, and health-related fields. This course will teach managers how to recognise the signs of depression and anxiety in their staff, so they can provide timely support and guidance before their condition worsens.


Related resources