Design and setting: Meta-analysis of suicide mortality rates and suicide methods (hanging, shooting, gassing, poisoning, jumping from a height, drowning, use of a sharp implement) for males and females in Australian states and territories in the decades 1988–1997 and 1998–2007.
Main outcome measures: Changes in use of suicide methods from 1988 to 2007; changes in the overall suicide rates and in rates for each method of suicide in Australian states and territories between 1988–1997 and 1998–2007.
Results: There was a decline in rates of shooting, gassing, poisoning and drowning in males and a decline in shooting, gassing, jumping from a heiight and drowning among females, but an increase in hanging by both males and females in the decade 1998–2007 when the compared to 1988–1997. There was significant variation in the rates of and trends in methods of suicide between the states and territories of Australia between 1988–1997 and 1998–2007.
Conclusions: The decline in rates of suicide in most parts of Australia coincides with a reduction in the availability of lethal methods. Consideration should be given to further measures to limit the availability of lethal methods of suicide.
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