Reducing Youth Suicide in Queensland Final Report
Reducing Youth Suicide in Queensland Research
After noting a concerning trend in youth suicide in Queensland, the Commission initiated the research initiative Reducing Youth Suicide in Queensland. The project drew on analysis of information contained in the Commission’s Child Death Register and included a detailed review of the lives and deaths of children and young people who suicided between 2004 and 2007.
The research sought to improve the Commission’s understanding of the factors that increase suicide risk among children and young people. The final report was released by the Commission in October 2011.
Brief of the key Commission research findings
A key research finding was that suicide became the leading cause of death for 15-17 year olds in both 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. For the first time transport related fatalities had been exceeded as the leading cause of death for this age category.
Statistics on child deaths may only represent the tip of the iceberg and ongoing work is required to keep communities and stakeholders informed of the circumstances relating to suicide and intentional self-harm.
Another concerning factor remains the over representation of suicide deaths among young people aged 10-14 and 15-17, who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Factors influencing these rates included high levels of socio-economic disadvantage and lack of culturally appropriate suicide prevention and education programs.
The report also highlighted a number of risk factors that can be linked to youth suicide, many of which require further research and investigation so that prevention action can be appropriately targeted and prioritised, including:
It is clear there are no simple explanations as to why children and young people take their own lives. Most have complex and unique stories; each experiencing problems, events and risk factors differently. The challenge lies in identifying and unravelling the complex interplay of factors and bringing this information together in a meaningful way to create new pathways to prevent youth suicide.
The Commission is grateful to all those people and organisations who took the time to provide submissions to the Reducing Youth Suicide in Queensland research project. Respondents included both government and non-government organisations and individuals, with a broad cross-section of experience in education, mental health, child safety and child welfare, health, policing and policy development. This input, combined with the available data, has highlighted some valuable opportunities for building the evidence base and practice of childhood suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.
The final report provides a solid and contemporary evidence base to help target future efforts at reducing youth suicide in Queensland, the rate of which has consistently exceeded the national average.
The full Reducing Youth Suicide in Queensland report can be viewed here.
If you are undertaking research into child death prevention initiatives in Queensland, and would like to request further information from the Commission’s Child Death Register, please email us directly through this link.