Intentional self-harm hospitalisations by age groups

Hospitalisations data for patients with intentional self-harm injuries includes those with and without suicidal intent. For further information see Technical notes.

Rates of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm are higher for females

In 2019–20:

  • nearly two thirds of people hospitalised for intentional self-harm injuries were female (63%, or over 18,000 hospitalisations)
  • the rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations was higher for females than males (141 per 100,000 population compared with 84).

This is the opposite of what is seen in deaths by suicide, where rates are higher for males than for females (see Deaths by suicide over time). This may, in part, be due to differences between methods used by males and females—with males tending to use more lethal methods than females.

Intentional self-harm hospitalisations by age and sex, Australia, 2008–09 to 2019–20.

The bar chart shows the age-specific rates of intentional self-harm hospitalisations for males and females for specific age groups and all ages combined in 2019–20. Users can also view age-specific rate, numbers and the proportion of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm by sex for each age group and year from 2008–09 to 2019–20. In 2019–20, females had higher rates of hospitalisation for intentional self-harm than males up to age 75-79. The highest rates for females were in the 15–19 yesrs age group (552.2 hospitalisations per 100,000 population) and the 20–24 years age group for males (168.0).

Rates of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm are higher for young people

Between 2008–09 and 2019–20, the rates of intentional self-harm hospitalisations were consistently high for young people. The highest rates in 2019–20 were recorded for:

  • females aged 15–19 (552 per 100,000 population), followed by females aged 20–24 (340).

The highest rates for males also occurred in these younger age groups but rates were at least 2-fold lower than those of females. For example, in 2019–20:

  • the rate of self-harm hospitalisations was 165 per 100,000 population for males aged 15–19, while those aged 20–24 reported the highest rate (168 per 100,000 population).

During this period, there was a steady increase in the rates for both males and females aged 15–19, while rates for other age groups remained relatively stable (see Intentional self-harm hospitalisations among young people).