Suicide and self-harm in immigration detention

Robert D Goldney
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11214
Published online: 21 November 2011

To the Editor: The editorial by Newman and colleagues on suicide and self-harm in immigration detention1 was a timely reminder of a contemporary issue that has aroused clinical, sociological and political debate. However, in providing a list of dot points for investigation, there was one curious omission. Although perhaps not politically correct or indeed comfortable for the authors, the well recognised possibility that suicide and self-harming behaviour could be politically motivated2 should also be addressed. This is important, not only because we as health professionals could be seen to be naive to ignore this, but, more specifically, so that inappropriate medicalisation of readily understandable distress does not occur.

  • University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA.

  • 1. Newman LK, Procter NG, Dudley MJ. Suicide and self-harm in immigration detention. Med J Aust 2011; 195: 310-311. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Lester D. Suicide as a political act. Psychol Rep 1990; 66: 1185-1186.


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