Reporting deaths by suicide and hospitalisations for intentional self-harm at smaller, more ‘localised’ geographical areas, can reveal information that may be masked by reporting for the whole of Australia or by states and territories—allowing for a better understanding of suicidal behaviours for local communities, policymakers and researchers.

Although suicide has a significant impact on the community, it is a relatively rare cause of death in Australia meaning that depending on the level of geography considered, there may be areas where there are very few—or even no—deaths by suicide recorded in a given year. The number of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm are approximately 10 times that of deaths by suicide; however, further disaggregation (or breakdown) of the data by age or sex reduces the numbers of events able to be reported for each group in each small geographical area in a single year. Strict privacy and confidentiality controls or concerns regarding statistical reliability mean that small numbers (or rates based on them) cannot be publicly reported, thereby reducing the coverage of reportable data as smaller geographical areas are considered.

Numbers and age-standardised rates (where they could be reliably calculated) of deaths by suicide and hospitalisations for intentional self-harm have been reported by PHN area and Statistical Areas level 3 and 4. For the reporting of suicide and hospitalised intentional self-harm data by Statistical Area, the smallest possible geographical area has been used while still allowing for maximum coverage of reportable data across these small geographical areas.