National Suicide and Self-Harm Monitoring System
The National Suicide Prevention Office, together with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), has established Australia’s first national suicide and self-harm monitoring system.
The suicide monitoring system aims to increase transparency and access to information so that Australians can have a more informed understanding of suicide and self-harm to improve the ways we respond to suicide, helping us work towards zero suicides.
Everyone needs to be mindful of the sensitive nature of the information in the suicide monitoring system, and to take care of their mental health and wellbeing when engaging with this information.
Reporting the information in the suicide monitoring system without reference to Mindframe guidelines or without applying media codes of practice for safe reporting has the potential to cause harm. The principles of the suicide monitoring system advocate the safe and responsible use of the Mindframe guidelines when using, reporting and publishing statistics on suicide and self-harm.
Latest data releases
The latest update in April 2023 includes the most recent data available from suicide registers and ambulance attendances for suicide ideation, suicide attempts and self-harm behaviours, and new findings on the impact of suicide on First Nations people and deaths by suicide by people who have used disability services.
The release highlights that Indigenous Australians lose, on average, 55 years of potential life due to suicide and self-harm - approximately 15 years more than non-Indigenous Australians.
The release also illustrates the strong association between use of disability services and death by suicide, where people who use disability services have three times the rate of suicide than the general population. Higher rates are also found for females using disability services and people who are accessing services primarily for psychosocial disability.
The AIHW data provides the evidence to inform how the National Suicide Prevention Office can develop and implement a whole-of-governments approach to suicide prevention by enabling the identification of upstream social factors that can increase risk of suicide as well as the identification of groups of people that are disproportionately impacted by suicide.
The National Suicide Prevention Office will utilise this data to highlight opportunities for interventions for particular groups of people, and at specific touch points between people and government services, such as disability and employment support, and education.
About the suicide monitoring system
The suicide monitoring system website brings together, for the first time, data on suicide, intentional self-harm, and suicidal behaviours from a range of national data sources and surveys. The data is presented in an accessible way and includes interactive data visualisations and geospatial mapping to illustrate and explore the statistics, as well as explanatory text to assist with their interpretation and communicate the limitations of the data.
The suicide monitoring system website content will be regularly updated as new data become available, and further data sources will also be added as they become available from data development activities.
The suicide monitoring system also includes an Analyst Portal (the Portal) for the sharing of content from Commonwealth and jurisdictional data custodians and other approved users, such as Primary Health Networks, NGOs and researchers. The purpose of the Portal is to compliment data that is publicly available on the website by providing authorised users access to data that is presented in a way that has specific utility for those involved in planning and providing responses for suicide prevention. The information provided through the website and the Portal enables policy makers and service providers to identify emerging trends and priority populations to support timely policy decisions and localised planning of suicide prevention activities.
To ensure the suicide monitoring system continues to inform improvements in both community awareness and prevention of suicide and self-harm, the National Suicide Prevention Office led the development of a set of principles to guide the decisions about what data is included in the system and how it is accessed. The principles were co-developed with input from the Expert Advisory Group and people with lived experience of suicide. For more information see Principles for the system.
People with a lived experience, including those who have attempted suicide, those bereaved by suicide or affected by suicide, have a valuable, unique, and legitimate role in suicide prevention.
The National Suicide Prevention Office lead a Lived Experience Working Group to support the suicide monitoring system. Members of this group play an important role in the development and presentation of the data on the website, the development of the Portal, and will continue to provide critical insights into how we can improve the suicide monitoring system to better prevent suicide in Australia.
Here are a couple of our Lived Experience working group members talking about their contributions to the development of the suicide monitoring system.
Expert Advisory Group members
The National Suicide Prevention Office manages an Expert Advisory Group for the suicide monitoring system to support the development, implementation, and application of the monitoring system by providing advice as required.
The membership of the Expert Advisory Group includes representation from suicide prevention experts, academics and researchers, service providers, and people with lived experience.
- Dr Michael Gardner, Chair, Head, National Suicide Prevention Office
- Dr Jaelea Skehan, Member, Director Everymind
- Mr Alan Woodward, Member, National Mental Health Commissioner
- Dr Grant Sara, Member, NSW Ministry of Health
- Ms Nieves Murray, Member, CEO, Suicide Prevention Australia
- Ms Nicky Bath, Member, CEO, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia
- Associate Professor Jo Robinson, Member, Head Suicide Prevention Research, Orygen
- Ms Leilani Darwin, Member, Centre of Best Practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention
- Mr Mark Davis, Lived Experience representative
- Dr Nerida Volker, Lived Experience representative
- Emily Unity, Lived Experience representative
EAG meetings to date
The Expert Advisory Group has met quarterly between November 2019 and March 2023.