Intentional self-harm hospitalisations by states & territories

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

How do intentional self-harm hospitalisations vary across states and territories?

In 2020–21:

  • there were more than 29,900 hospitalisations due to intentional self-harm in Australia, with the highest proportion (31.7%) in Queensland
  • the rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations varied between states and territories in 2020–21, with the Northern Territory reporting the highest rate (238 hospitalisations per 100,000 population), which is more than double the national rate (116 hospitalisations per 100,000 population)
  • the lowest rate was recorded in New South Wales (77 hospitalisations per 100,000 population).

Reporting is based on a patient’s usual residence, not necessarily where they received treatment.

Intentional self-harm hospitalisations, by states and territories, Australia, 2008–09 to 2020–21.

The lline graph shows rates of intentional self-harm hospitalisations from 2008–09 to 2020–21 for each state and territory and the total for Australia. Users can also choose to view age-specific rate, numbers and proportion of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm by states and territory by sex and specific age groups. Over the majority of the time period, the Northern Territory had the highest rates of intentional self-harm hospitalisations, except for 2009–2010 where the rates in South Australia (146.8 per 100,000) were slightly higher than Northern Territory (146.6). Rates in the Northern Territory increased from 162.4 per 100,000 population in 2008–09 to 238.1 in 2020–21. In 2020–21, Queensland had the second highest rate at 183.1 hospitalisations per 100,000 population. The total rate for Australia in 2020–21 was 116.3 per 100,000 population.

How have rates of intentional self-harm hospitalisations changed over time by state and territory?

Throughout 2008–09 to 2020–21, rates of intentional self-harm hospitalisations in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory were consistently higher than that of the national rate.

From 2008–09 to 2020–21 the highest rates of hospitalisations due to intentional self-harm in Australia were generally in the Northern Territory.

  • Over this period, rates of hospitalisations due to intentional self-harm in the Northern Territory increased nearly 1.5 times from 162 hospitalisations per 100,000 population to 238
  • The most notable changes between 2008–09 and 2020–21 were seen in young females.
    • The rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations for Northern Territory females in the 0–24 age group more than tripled (from 98 hospitalisations per 100,000 population in 2008–09 to 357 in 2020–21).
    • In Queensland the rate has more than doubled for females in this age group (158 per 100,000 population in 2008–09 to 383 in 2020–21).
  • In addition, rates of intentional self-harm hospitalisations for males aged 24 and below in the Northern Territory almost doubled from 90 hospitalisations per 100,000 population in 2008–09 to 166 in 2020–21.

Variation in hospital admission policy and practices between states and territories may have contributed to differences in the reporting of hospitalisation data, for further information see data quality statement.

  • New South Wales reported an increase in the number of hospitalisations due to intentional self-harm in 2016–17, before decreasing from 2017–18 to 2020–21
  • Queensland reported a similar pattern in decreases between 2017–18 and 2019–20 but had an increase in 2020–21
  • Between 2011–12 and 2012–13, Victoria reported a substantial decrease in the number of hospitalisations due to intentional self-harm from more than 6,700 (120 hospitalisations per 100,000) to around 4,500 (78 hospitalisations per 100,000). This may reflect a change in Victoria's emergency department admission policy, for further information see data quality statement.