Appearances may deceive: what’s going on with Australian suicide statistics?

Clare E Bradley, James E Harrison and Amr Abou Elnour
Med J Aust 2010; 192 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2010.tb03578.x
Published online: 19 April 2010

Publication deadlines for reporting causes of deaths not yet finalised by coroners and different methods employed by different jurisdictions may have disguised Australia’s true suicide rate

Suicide is a topic of public health, public policy and general community interest. Accurate and timely suicide statistics are needed to measure and monitor this cause of death, to guide the development of prevention programs, and to enable evaluation and research.1 The main source of suicide data in Australia is the national mortality database of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).2 Recently, the ABS data have been used to report reductions in the annual rates and overall numbers of completed suicides since 1997;3,4 another such report, by Large and Nielssen, appears in this issue of the Journal.5

  • Clare E Bradley1
  • James E Harrison2
  • Amr Abou Elnour3

  • Research Centre for Injury Studies, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA.

Competing interests:

James Harrison is chairperson of the Australasian Mortality Data Interest Group, a member of the World Health Organization Revision Steering Group is leading the revision of the part of the International Classification of Diseases that is used to classify suicide, a member of the National Committee for Standardised Reporting of Suicide, and an external member of the management advisory committee of the NCIS.


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