Local data critical in support after self-harm: AIHW report
Lifeline Research Foundation Executive Director Alan Woodward commends the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) for its latest Healthy Communities report, which contains data on intentional self-harm hospitalisation at the local level, saying it will help communities plan suicide prevention responses.
“This report is a valuable piece of the puzzle when it comes to mapping local area needs and forming a national picture for monitoring trends,” Mr Woodward said.
“Primary Health Networks (PHNs) – together with charities and other support services – can use their existing knowledge of their local area to interpret this report’s findings and stop further self-harm and suicidality at a critical point of contact: hospitals.
“With intentional self-harm a key risk factor of suicide, it is critical to ensure an approach focusing on matching compassion and connection with quality health care and clinical treatment. As such, there is an opportunity for local organisations and networks to innovate in areas of post-attempt and follow-up support, helping to tackle the national suicide emergency and reduce deaths from 10-year-plus high levels.
“More than a hundred thousand Australians survive a suicidal crisis each year. By better supporting people who present at hospital following intentional self-harm, we can take steps towards Lifeline’s vision of an Australia free of suicide.”
Key report findings:
- The age-standardised rate of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm varied from 83 per 100,000 people (in Eastern Melbourne PHN area) to 240 per 100,000 people (in Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast PHN area).
- Across regional and remote local areas, hospitalisation rates for intentional self-harm increased with remoteness. The rate for inner regional local areas was 174 hospitalisations per 100,000 people, increasing for outer regional (191) and remote (231) local areas.
- Self-harm is associated with a number of mental health conditions and about 70% of those admitted to hospital had either a principal or secondary mental health diagnosis in 2013–14.
- The age profile is similar to the profile on persons who died by suicide – 30% are youth/young adult, more than 50% are middle aged and the remainder are older persons.
To read the full report Healthy Communities: Hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm in 2013-14, click here.
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.