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Curtin University
Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health

Prevalence of Suicide and Suicide Ideation in Western Australia Using Linked Data Sources (2009-2011)

Investigators:

Chief Investigator

Masters Candidate

  • Ms Nerissa Wood

Project Aim and Objectives

The aim of this research is to add to the body of information regarding suicide and suicide ideation and provide information for use in prevention strategies.

The objectives of this study are to:

  • Estimate the period prevalence (previous year) of suicide ideation and suicide attempts in the Western Australian population aged 16 years and over.
  • Determine if there have been significant changes in the prevalence estimates of suicide ideation and suicide attempts over the last six years (using monthly estimates).
  • Determine the association between suicide ideation and suicide attempts with other variables.
  • Determine the proportion of people reporting suicide attempts who were admitted to hospital or presented to an emergency department.
  • Determine the proportion of people reporting suicide ideation and/or suicide attempts  who subsequently commit suicide.

Background

Suicide, defined as deliberately taking one’s life, is a major public health issue. In 2000 it was estimated that around the world one person died as a result of suicide every 40 seconds, making it the 13th leading cause of death. Worldwide suicide accounts for more deaths than wars and homicides combined.

It is estimated that the prevalence of non-fatal suicide attempts may be up to 20 times higher compared with suicides. These suicide attempts (fatal and non-fatal) have substantial emotional effects, as well as high economic costs.

Project Overview

This study will use self reported data collected by the Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System (HWSS) between March 2002 and June 2008 to investigate the self-reported period prevalence of suicide attempts and suicide ideation in Western Australian adults aged 16 years and over. This data will also be analysed to investigate the relationship between self reported suicide ideation and suicide and a variety of other variables, including socio-demographic variables, mental health variables and chronic conditions.

Respondents to the HWSS who agreed for their information to be linked to other health data sets will have their data linked to the Hospital Morbidity Database System (HMDS), the Emergency Data Collection (EDC), the Mental Health Information System (MHIS), and the Mortality Database. This linkage will enable the agreement between respondents who have reported suicide attempts in the past 12 months in the HWSS to be compared with the HMDS and the EDC. The linkage to the MHIS will enable additional information regarding the mental health of respondents to be assessed, while the linkage to the mortality will enable subsequent deaths by suicide to be analysed. 

Outcomes

This information will provide prevalence estimates of suicide ideation and attempts for the general population and an estimate of the proportion of suicide attempts that can be identified using administrative data sets. The information from this study will add to the understanding of suicide ideation and suicide and provide information for use in prevention strategies.

 

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