Queensland suicide rates have declined

Dr Kairi Kolves
Dr Kairi Kolves

In good news for Queensland this World Suicide Prevention Day (Tuesday, September 10), the suicide rates in the state have slightly declined over the past decade.

This is according to the data from the Queensland Suicide Register (QSR), a suicide mortality database managed by Griffith’s Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention
(AISRAP) and funded by Queensland Health (since 2013 by Queensland Mental Health Commission).

Between 2008 and 2010, 1,801 suicides were recorded in Queensland, which equates to a crude suicide rate of 13.59 per 100,000 people (20.55 for males and 6.64 per 100,000 for females).

“These results are positive for the state,” said Dr Kairi Kolves, a senior research fellow with AISRAP who will be presenting the full QSR findings at tomorrow’s World Suicide Prevention
Day Forum in Brisbane.

“We can see that there has been a decrease in suicide figures since mid 1990s for males, which reached their peak in the period 1996-1998 with rates of 26.7 per 100,000. However, while suicide rates have shown a reduction for younger males aged below 35 years, there has been a slight increase in older age groups.”

Although Queensland data continuously showed slightly higher rates of suicide than the Australian national average, Dr Kolves said that it could be partly attributed to the higher proportion of Indigenous people within the state, who still have a 28% higher suicide rate compared to Queensland’s overall rate.

The most frequently used methods of suicide

The most frequently used suicide methods in Queensland, according to the Register, were hanging (45.6%), drug or medicine overdose (18.2%), firearms (9%) and carbon monoxide toxicity (7.5%). In general, there has been a reduction in the use of firearms and carbon monoxide, which could be associated with factors influencing choice of method such as availability, migration and cultural change.

Suicide rates have declined in several western countries. Among the reasons suggested to explain this positive phenomenon are increased attention to suicide precursors, and improved knowledge and level of care.

With this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day having the theme Stigma: A major barrier to suicide prevention, the September 10 Forum will feature a host of stigma-related suicide research.

This will cover topics such as suicide in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) populations, as well as the problems with stigma in youth suicide.

For help or information call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 or visit beyondblue.org.au.

􀀀 September 10 2013 sees the eleventh anniversary of World Suicide Prevention Day.
􀀀 The World Suicide Prevention Day Forum is being hosted by AISRAP (a National
Centre of Excellence in Suicide Prevention) on September 10 at the Christie Conference
Centre, 320 Adelaide Street, Brisbane. The theme is Stigma: A major barrier to suicide
􀀀 AISRAP suicide prevention research will be presented on the day, alongside presentations from
organisations including Queensland Health, Queensland Police, the Dr Edward Koch Foundation
and The Commission for Children and Young People.
􀀀 The QLD Mental Health Commissioner, Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck, will be opening the
􀀀 For full information on the event please visit http://www.griffith.edu.au/health/australian-institute-suicide-research-prevention/news-events