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 2019–20.

The line graph shows age-specific rates of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm by age, sex and persons for Indigenous Australians. Users can 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 683.0 per 100,000 population in 2014–15 to 1164.7 in 2016–17, declined to 1041.8 in 2018–19, before increasing again to 1182.9 in 2019-20. This was the highest rate of all age-groups in 2019–20, well above the next highest rate of 785.0 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 235.5 in 2008–09 to 434.6 in 2019–20.

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

In 2019–20, the rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations for Indigenous Australians (348 hospitalisations per 100,000 population) was about 3 times that of non-Indigenous Australians (104).

In 2019–20:

  • the highest rate of hospitalised intentional self-harm for Indigenous Australians was in the 15–19 age group (772 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 (337)
  • Indigenous females aged 15–19 recorded the highest rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations (1,183 hospitalisations per 100,000 population), followed by those aged 20–24 (785)
  • the highest rate of hospitalised intentional self-harm for Indigenous Australian males was in the 25-29 age-group (529 hospitalisations per 100,000 population), followed by those aged 45-49 (471) and 30–34 (465).

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

From 2008–09 to 2019–20:

  • the overall rate of hospitalised intentional self-harm for Indigenous Australians rose (from 203 hospitalisations per 100,000 population to 348)
  • the rate of intentional self-harm hospitalisations for non-Indigenous Australians remained relatively steady over this period (from 114 hospitalisations per 100,000 population to 104).

Over this same period, the Indigenous suicide rate also rose (see, Suicide & Indigenous Australians).

Rates of hospitalisation for intentional self-harm have risen from 2008–09 to 2019–20 for both Indigenous females and males.

  • Rates of hospitalised intentional self-harm for Indigenous females increased from 236 hospitalisations per 100,000 population in 2008-09 to 435 in 2019–20, while rates for Indigenous males rose from 170 hospitalisations per 100,000 population to 261.
  • The greatest increase in rates was seen in Indigenous females aged 15–19 (more than doubling from 455 hospitalisations per 100,000 population in 2008–09 to 1,183 in 2019–20). Rates also increased more than 1.4 times for non-Indigenous females aged 15–19 during this period (from 365 per 100,000 population to 511), although have steadily dropped since 2016–17 (653 per 100,000 population).
  • Rates also increased markedly in Indigenous females aged 20–24 (from 425 hospitalisations per 100,000 population to 785), 40–44 (from 331 to 732) and 50 and over (from 101 per 100,000 population to 233).