Suicide mortality data need revision

Diego De Leo
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb00845.x
Published online: 5 February 2007

To the Editor: In 2004, there were 580 cases of suicide in Queensland, and not 453, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on 14 March 2006.1 These data alone reverse the declining trend for suicide mortality nationally in the most recent years. The Queensland Suicide Register, maintained by the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP), receives data directly from the Office of the State Coroner, and crosschecks them with other Queensland coroners, the John Tonge Centre (the Queensland Health Scientific Services mortuary), and the National Coroners Information System (NCIS). The ABS receives data from the state registries of births, deaths and marriages, and crosschecks them with the state coroners’ offices. The agreement between the two agencies has been decreasing in recent years, with AISRAP detecting 550 suicide cases in 2003 and 588 in 2002, compared with 466 and 537, respectively, detected by the ABS (Box).

  • Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD.



Thanks are due to Tara Pritchard (ABS), Jessica Pearse (NCIS), Michael Barnes (QLD State Coroner), Gill Aspinall (QLD Police), Charles Naylor (John Tonge Centre), and Helen Klieve, Allison Millner, Dominique Murray and Marianne Wyder (AISRAP).

  • 1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Suicides, Australia, 1994–2004. Canberra: ABS, 2006. (ABS Catalogue No. 3309.0.)
  • 2. National Coroners Information System. Annual Report 2006. Melbourne: NCIS, Monash University, 2006.
  • 3. De Leo D, Bertolote JM, Lester D. Self-directed violence. In: Krug E, Dalhberg L, Mercy J, et al, editors. World report on violence and health. Geneva: WHO, 2002: 183-212.
  • 4. Andriessen K. Do we need to be cautious in evaluating suicide statistics? Eur J Public Health 2006; 16: 445-447.


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