AIHW news

Suicide and self-harm monitoring data now available

The article was originally posted on LinkedIn by Matthew James, Deputy CEO, AIHW.  

CONTENT WARNING: This article contains discussion around suicide and self-harm

I am pleased to announce the release of a significant project – the AIHW’s Suicide & self-harm monitoring website – which brings together extensive new and existing data on suicide and self-harm among Australians in one place.

The COVID-19 pandemic, has led to rises in the need for mental health services and on wellbeing. While most of the material on the site refers to the period before the onset of the pandemic, some more recent data on suspected suicides have been released by the VIC and QLD Suicide Registers and New Zealand for 2020.

An important goal of this project is to establish suicide registers in all jurisdictions to ensure more timely data. The AIHW is currently working with SA, ACT and NT to help establish suicide registers and we hope that all jurisdictions will have registers in place by 2021.

Additionally, we are working with Turning Point to establish a National Ambulance Surveillance System, which will provide monthly data on attendances for suicide attempts. This is a world-first public health monitoring system that will provide timely and comprehensive data on ambulance attendances for suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, self-injury (self-harm behaviours) and mental health. Initial data from this system on self-harm behaviours and mental health related attendances is now available on the website.

The AIHW is also working with jurisdictions to improve the breadth and quality of data from hospital emergency departments. This includes allowing suicide attempts to be separately identified in the data on hospitalisations for intentional self-harm, which current data do not provide.

This website will help inform and support better policy and service delivery decisions to help reduce suicide deaths and attempts in Australia, while contributing to the broader suicide prevention efforts happening nationally.

I want to thank and congratulate all the teams involved in the website’s production, the National Mental Health Commission, and all our other stakeholders for their feedback and involvement.

Explore the data now on our website.

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