Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Injury in Australia: intentional self-harm and suicide. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 28 October 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/intentional-self-harm-and-suicide
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Injury in Australia: intentional self-harm and suicide. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/intentional-self-harm-and-suicide
Injury in Australia: intentional self-harm and suicide. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 10 March 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/intentional-self-harm-and-suicide
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Injury in Australia: intentional self-harm and suicide [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2021 Oct. 28]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/intentional-self-harm-and-suicide
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Injury in Australia: intentional self-harm and suicide, viewed 28 October 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/intentional-self-harm-and-suicide
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Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia for people aged 15–44 (AIHW 2020).
In 2017–18, 5.5% of hospitalised injury cases were due to intentional self-harm and 23% of injury deaths were due to suicide.
Males are particularly at risk from suicide and females from being hospitalised due to intentional self-harm. Intentional self-harm and falls are the only two major causes of injury hospitalisation where females outnumber males.
Determining whether an injury is intentional or not is not always straightforward (see Technical notes) and is especially difficult for children. For this reason, intentional self-harm hospitalisation statistics are presented in aggregate form for ages 0–14, and suicide statistics are not presented for children aged under 10.
In 2017–18, intentional self-harm and suicide resulted in:
29,493 hospitalisation cases
119 per 100,000 population
12.1 per 100,000 population
This article only includes data on injuries that result in hospital admission or death. If a person dies from an injury after being admitted to hospital, both the hospitalisation and the death is included in this report. For more information, see Defining injury hospitalisation cases and injury deaths.
In 2017–18, 78% of intentional self-harm hospitalisations involved pharmaceutical drugs (Table 1).
Rate (per 100,000)
Poisoning involving pharmaceuticals (X60–64)
Sharp objects (including knives) (X78)
Poisoning involving other substances (X65–69)
Other or unspecified (X70–72, X74–77, X79–84)
Source: AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database.
For more detailed data, see Data tables B19–20.
Since 2008–09, there has been:
Annual average rate changes are calculated using modelled age-standardised rates (see Technical notes for more details).
The increase in suicide deaths has not been constant—suicide rates were fairly steady from 2007 to 2010, rose from 2010 to 2015 and have fluctuated since then (Biddle et al. 2020).
Because of changes in data collection methods, hospitalisations data for 2017–18 should not be compared with those of previous years and are not included in Figure 1 (see Technical notes for more details). Death data for 2017–18 are comparable with rates for previous years.
The visualisation features 2 matching line graphs on separate tabs, 1 for hospitalisation cases and 1 for deaths. The 3 lines represent the trend for males, females and persons from 2008–09 to 2016–17 for hospitalisation cases and to 2017–18 for deaths. The reader can select to display rate per 100,000 population or number, and can select by life-stage age group including all ages.
For more detailed data, see Data tables C1–4 and E1–4.
Intentional self-harm injury hospitalisation and suicide death rates differed for males and females and across age groups (Figure 2). While suicide rates for males were higher than for females, hospitalisation caused by intentional self-harm was 1 of the few injury causes where females outnumbered males.
The visualisation features 2 matching column graphs on separate tabs, 1 for hospitalisation cases and 1 for deaths. The columns represent sex within each of 5 life-stage age groups. The reader can select to display either age-specific rate per 100,000 population or number. The default display shows rates for males and females and the reader can also select to display persons.
For more detailed data, see Data tables A1–3 and D1–3.
Three measures that may indicate the severity of a hospitalised injury are length of stay, percentage of cases with time in an intensive care unit (ICU), and percentage of cases involving continuous ventilator support.
The average duration of a hospital stay for intentional self-harm injury hospitalisation cases was similar to the overall average length of stay for all hospitalised injuries, but the percentages of intentional self-harm cases that included time in an ICU or continuous ventilator support were the highest of all the main causes of hospitalised injuries (Table 2).
Intentional self-harm injury
All hospitalised injuries
Average number of days in hospital
% of cases with time in an ICU
% of cases involving continuous ventilator support
Note: Average number of days in hospital (length of stay) includes admissions that are transfers from 1 hospital to another or transfers from 1 admitted care type to another within the same hospital, except where care involves rehabilitation procedures.
Source: AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database.
In 2017–18, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:
Note: Rates are crude per 100,000 population.
Source: AIHW National Mortality Database.
In 2017–18, Indigenous Australians, compared with non-Indigenous Australians, after adjusting for the difference in population age structure, were:
The age-specific rate of intentional-self harm hospitalisation cases was highest among the 15–24 life-stage age group for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (Figure 3). Deaths data are not presented because of small numbers.
Column graph representing hospitalisation data for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 5 life-stage age groups. The reader can select to display age-specific rate per 100,000 population or number. The reader can also select to display data for persons, males or females.
For more detailed data, see Data tables A4–A6 and D4–D8.
In 2017–18, people living in Very remote areas, compared with people living in Major cities, using age-standardised rates, were:
n.p. Not publishable because of small numbers, confidentiality or other concerns about the quality of the data.
Note: Rates are age-standardised per 100,000 population.
The highest age-specific rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisation cases was among the 15–24 life-stage age group living in Remote areas of Australia. (Figure 4).
Deaths data are not presented because of small numbers.
Column graph representing hospitalisation data for each of the 5 remoteness categories within 5 life-stage age groups. The reader can select to display age-specific rate per 100,000 population or number. The reader can also select to display data for persons, males or females.
For more detailed data, see data tables A7–A9 and D9–D10.
For information on how statistics by remoteness are calculated, see Technical notes.
Technical notes—read about how the data were calculated.
Data tables—download full data tables.
ACCD (Australian Consortium for Classification Development) 2017. The international statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM), 10th edn. Tabular list of diseases and alphabetic index of diseases. Adelaide: Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA), Lane Publishing.
AIHW 2020. Suicide & self-harm monitoring. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 19 October 2020.
Biddle N, Ellen L, Korda R, Reddy K. 2020. Suicide mortality in Australia: estimating and projecting monthly variation and trends from 2007 to 2018 and beyond. AIHW: Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 19 December 2020.
The following list includes AIHW publications from recent years that include information on intentional self-harm and suicide.
Research provided by Flinders University
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