The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) together with the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), have released a new website as part of the delivery strategy for Australia’s first National Suicide and Self-Harm Monitoring System.
Funded by the Australian Government, it houses data collected from sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as coronial offices and state and territory ambulance services which will assist in identifying trends and areas of concern for action.
To understand what this means this for the mental health and suicide prevention sector, as well as the wider community, the Life in Mind team have taken a closer look to answer some common frequently asked questions.
Q: What is the goal of release of this website?
A: The main purpose of the new website is to bring together existing and extensive new data on suicide and self-harm in one place. Having access to accurate data will help us understand trends and implement appropriate services within unique communities.
Q: How is all this data collected?
A: Data is collected from sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and coronial offices, existing national morbidity (hospitalisation) and mortality data and national survey data. New national data from state and territory ambulance services is also included, attained specifically through this project, from the National Ambulance Surveillance System (NASS).
Q: Why is this website important?
A: This is the most comprehensive collation of data to date for suicide deaths and self-harm across eight jurisdictions (States and Territories), which has been brought together into a single web-based interactive and integrated platform. This is incredibly important because improved monitoring in Australia across the spectrum of suicidal behaviours will facilitate the understanding of levels of risk people are experiencing to better respond to suicide and self-harm across our communities. This will provide new insights including trends, emerging areas of concern and priority groups that will inform better policy and service delivery decisions, and timely and effective evidence-based interventions and support locally and nationally.
Q: Will more be added to this website?
A: Yes, this is just the first step in developing a centralised collection point for data and the website will undergo an iterative process, adding data and functionality moving forward. The data will be consistently improved and updated as the data collection system project progresses, and data collection from all States and Territories aligns. This new national system and the representation of the data, will help facilitate public conversations about suicide, self-harm, and suicide ideation.
Q: What is the National Suicide and Self-Harm Monitoring System?
A: The National Suicide and Self-Harm Monitoring System is part of the national effort to address suicide and self-harm in Australia and fits within the broader prevention efforts happening nationally.
Q: What is the goal of the National Suicide and Self-Harm Monitoring System?
A: A key goal of the National Suicide and Self-Harm Monitoring System is to establish suicide registers in all jurisdictions and support governments, services, and communities to better respond to suicide and self-harm.
Q: Can anyone view the data?
A: The wider public and community in addition to suicide prevention and mental health areas can view the public facing, web-based format for suicide and self-harm monitoring which includes interactive data visualisations and geospatial mapping to illustrate and explore the statistics as well as text to assist with their interpretation and clarification of the limitations of the data. A secure portal and area will be added in early 2021 for policy evaluation, service planning and service activities by data custodians and approved users.
Access the new website here.
For a reminder on the Mindframe guidelines, please click here.
For more on help-seeking information, click here.