Caution: Some people may find parts of this content confronting or distressing.
Please carefully consider your needs when reading the following information about suicide and self-harm. If this material raises concerns for you contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or see other ways you can seek help.
The information included here places an emphasis on data, and as such, can appear to depersonalise the pain and loss behind the statistics. The AIHW acknowledges the individuals, families and communities affected by suicide each year in Australia.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that information relating to Indigenous suicide and self-harm is included.
The AIHW supports the use of the Mindframe guidelines on responsible, accurate and safe suicide and self-harm reporting. Please consider these guidelines when reporting on statistics on the monitoring of suicide and self-harm.
Understanding the methods used for intentional self-harm can play an important role in its prevention. These data are provided to inform discussion around restriction of access to means as a policy intervention for the prevention of suicide and self-harm.
Please consider your need to read the following information. If this material raises concerns for you or if you need immediate assistance, please contact a crisis support service, available free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Please consider the Mindframe guidelines if reporting on these statistics.
The classification system used to code hospital admissions data, ICD-10-AM, uses the term ‘mechanism’ to refer to the external cause of a self-inflicted injury. Throughout Suicide & self-harm monitoring ‘mechanism’ has been used in data visualisations, while the term ‘method’ has been used in the accompanying text.
Hospitalisations data for patients with intentional self-harm injuries includes those with and without suicidal intent. For further information see Technical notes.
Hospitalisations for intentional self-harm, by age, sex and mechanism, Australia, 2008–09 to 2019–20.
The line graph shows the age-specific rates of intentional self-harm hospitalisations for persons of all ages from 2008–09 to 2019–20 by method of self-harm. Users can also choose to view age-specific rate, numbers and proportion of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm by sex for each age group. From 2008–09 to 2019–20, the highest rates of intentional self-harm hospitalisations by method were for self-poisoning by drugs in the anti-epileptic, sedative-hypnotic, anti-parkinsonism and psychotropic drugs category, which for all years except 2016–17, were more than twice the rates of the second highest category, non-opioid analgesics, antipyretics and anti-rheumatics. The third highest rates during the 10-year period were for self-injury with sharp object.
Between 2008–09 and 2019–20, the 2 most common methods of self-harm resulting in hospitalisation were:
Contact with sharp objects (X78) was another common method of self-harm resulting in hospitalisation.
Hanging (X70) and Gas (X67) were the only methods of intentional self-harm that resulted in more hospitalisations of males than females in 2019–20 (551 and 287 hospitalisations, and 129 and 35 hospitalisations, respectively).
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