Intentional self-harm hospitalisations & Indigenous Australians

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

The quality of the hospital data provided for Indigenous status varies between states and territories. For further information, see the data quality statement and the Technical notes.

Intentional self-harm hospitalisations, by age, sex and Indigenous status, Australia, 2008–09 to 2018–19.

The line graph shows age-specific rates of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm by age for Indigenous females. Users can also choose to view age-specific rate, numbers and proportion of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm by sex and Indigenous status for each age group. Rates for young Indigenous females aged 15–19 increased steeply from 690 per 100,000 population in 2014–15 to 1177 in 2016–17 and then declined to 1045 in 2018–19. This was the highest rate of all age-groups in 2018–19, well above the next highest rate of 743 per 100,000 population for Indigenous females aged 20–24. The rate for all Indigenous females generally increased across the period, with some fluctuations, from 255 in 2008–09 to 430 in 2018–19.

How common are hospitalisations for intentional self-harm among Indigenous Australians?

In 2018–19, the rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations for Indigenous Australians (341 hospitalisations per 100,000 population) was about 3 times that of non-Indigenous Australians (109).

In 2018–19:

  • the highest rate of hospitalised intentional self-harm for Indigenous Australians was in the 15–19 age group (668 hospitalisations per 100,000 population). The highest rate for non-Indigenous Australians was also recorded in the 15–19 age group but was less than half that of Indigenous Australians aged 15–19 (332)
  • Indigenous females aged 15–19 recorded the highest rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations (1,045 hospitalisations per 100,000 population), followed by those aged 20–24 (743)
  • the highest rate of hospitalised intentional self-harm for Indigenous Australian males was in the 40–44 age-group (500 hospitalisations per 100,000 population), followed by those aged 30–34 (495) and 35–39 (494).

How have rates of intentional self-harm hospitalisations changed for Indigenous Australians?

From 2008–09 to 2018–19:

  • the overall rate of hospitalised intentional self-harm for Indigenous Australians rose steadily (from 219 hospitalisations per 100,000 population to 341)
  • the rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations for non-Indigenous Australians remained relatively steady over this period (115 in 2008–09 to 109 in 2018–19).

Over this same period, the Indigenous suicide rate ranged from 1.4 to 2.3 times that of non-Indigenous Australians (see, Suicide & Indigenous Australians).

Rates of hospitalisation for intentional self-harm have risen from 2008–09 to 2018–19 for both Indigenous females and males.

  • Rates of hospitalised intentional self-harm for Indigenous females increased from 255 hospitalisations per 100,000 population in 2008-09 to 430 in 2018–19, while rates for Indigenous males rose from 184 hospitalisations per 100,000 population to 252.
  • The greatest increase in rates was seen in Indigenous females aged 15–19 (more than doubling from 480 hospitalisations per 100,000 population in 2008–09 to 1045 in 2018–19). Rates also increased more than 1.4 times for non-Indigenous females aged 15–19 during this period (from 366 per 100,000 population to 522).
  • Rates also increased markedly in Indigenous females aged 20–24 (from 442 hospitalisations per 100,000 population to 743), 25–29 (from 404 per 100,000 population to 601), 40–44 (from 378 to 710) and 50 and over (from 113 per 100,000 population to 236).
  • Rates in Indigenous males more than doubled in those aged 45–49 (from 220 hospitalisations per 100,000 population to 441), and increased more than 1.5 times in those aged 15–19 (184 per 100,000 to 303) and 50 and over (86 per 100,000 to 163).