Transport accidents and suicide top causes of injury death among youth

Transport accidents and suicide are the two leading causes of injury death among young people, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Injury among young Australians, shows that injury as a whole was responsible for two-thirds of all deaths of young people aged 12 to 24 years in 2005, and for one in six hospitalisations.

Transport accidents were responsible for 44% of injury deaths and 20% of injury hospitalisations in this age group. Suicides accounted for 32% of injury deaths.

Deanna Eldridge from the AIHW's Children, Youth and Families Unit said that among young people, injury remained the major cause of death despite a halving of injury death rates over the two decades to 2005.

'This decline was almost entirely due to a 70% decrease in transport accident deaths in young people, but there has also been a modest fall in suicide deaths over the same period.

'But while the suicide death rate has fallen, hospitalisation rates for intentional self-harm among young people increased by 43% between 1996 and 2006. The increase was much greater for young women (a 51% increase) than for young men (a 27% increase),' Ms Eldridge said.

Hospitalisation rates for intentional self-harm were more than twice as high for young women than for young men, however young men have a suicide rate almost four times that of young women.

Assault hospitalisation rates for young people have also risen, by more than 25% between 1996 and 2006.

Young people accounted for about 33% of all hospitalisations and one in seven deaths from assault.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people had considerably higher rates of death and hospitalisation due to injury than other young Australians. The hospitalisation rate for assault was six times as high.

Hospitalisation and death rates from injury also increase with remoteness and socioeconomic disadvantage.

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Further information: Ms Deanna Eldridge, AIHW, 02 6244 1011, or mobile 0407 915 851.

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. 61 2 6244 1032.