SPA CEO on AIHW report released today on hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self harm

22 September 2016

Suicide Prevention Australia Chief Executive Sue Murray commends the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) for its latest Healthy Communities report (2013-14). The report contains data on hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self harm.

“This report presents an opportunity for Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and local support organisations to learn more about how to care for those who enter our hospitals due to intentional self harm,” says Sue Murray.

There is an increased risk of suicide in individuals who self harm. However, the relationship between self harm and suicide is complex. It can be but is not always life-threatening.

“Recent research released by Suicide Prevention Australia and University of New England called for consistent comprehensive discharge plans to developed and implemented for all patients upon being discharged from the health system including the involvement of family, close contacts and community services. This report gives us access to invaluable data to inform services supporting those touching critical care points, our hospitals.”

Key report findings:

  • The age standardised rate of hospitalisations for intentional self harm varied from 83 per 100,000 people (in Easter 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.

The full report is available on the MyHealthyCommunities website.

Recommendations arising from newly released Australia first research on exposure to and impact of suicide

On World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) in collaboration with the University of New England has published a ground-breaking research report on Understanding the Exposure and Impact of Suicide in Australia

Today’s report release make it all the more important for us to look at how we work across hospital and community care. The research is based on the input of thousands of respondents from across the country who have been affected by suicide. This valuable information allows us to better understand how individuals are impacted by suicide and to inform where funds and expertise are directed in suicide prevention. Recommendations as a result of this report call for Australia to:

  1. Increase community awareness about suicide prevention and educate communities on suicide and the broad spectrum of suicidal behaviours to help build capacity within the community to give and get help.
  2. Recognise lived experience of suicide as a public health issue of significance in Australia.
  3. Develop and support a National Suicide Prevention Strategy, including a dedicated component addressing the long-term exposure and impact of suicide. This Strategy should be supported by a National Suicide Prevention Act and monitored by a National Office for Suicide Prevention.
  4. Prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention and culturally appropriate suicide prevention strategies. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy implementation funds must be released as a matter of urgency.
  5. Ensure consistent comprehensive discharge plans are developed and implemented for all patients upon being discharged from the health system including the involvement of family, close contacts and community services.
  6. Engage the Productivity Commission to conduct a detailed independent assessment of the cost of suicidal behaviour in Australia. This assessment should include the costs associated with exposure to, and impact of, suicidal behaviour, as well as suicide deaths.