Suicide in Australia: meta-analysis of rates and methods of suicide between 1988 and 2007

Med J Aust. 2010 Apr 19;192(8):432-7. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2010.tb03580.x.


Objective: To examine the changes in rates of methods of suicide in Australian states and territories between 1988 and 2007.

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 height 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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / mortality
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asphyxia / mortality
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cause of Death* / trends
  • Dangerous Behavior*
  • Drowning / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Injuries / mortality
  • Poisoning / mortality
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Distribution
  • Suicide / classification*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide / trends
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality