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A new study has mapped the prevalence of youth self-harm across Australia, identifying states and regions that need to be prioritised for self-harm and suicide prevention funding and support. Source: The Catholic Leader.

The Australian Youth Self-Harm Atlas, funded by the National Suicide Prevention Research Fund, which is managed by Suicide Prevention Australia, is the first Australia-wide study to investigate how experiences of youth self-harm and suicidality vary across different regions.

The study, led by Brisbane-based QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute researcher Emily Hielscher, shows some areas are more vulnerable than others, evidence that a highly localised approach is needed to tackle youth suicide.

“We found that the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and South Australia had the highest estimated prevalence of youth self-harm across all states and territories, indicating their communities are particularly vulnerable,” Dr Hielscher said.

“They should be the highest priority for funding, support, and research.

“Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australian young people, but the research shows that each community is affected differently.

“We saw an urgent need to investigate regional variability in the prevalence and experience of youth self-harm and suicidality across the country.”

Key recommendations from the study include making real-time localised data more readily available in identified self-harm clusters, as well as continuing to improve youth mental health, e-safety, and single parent employment, and addressing uniquely identified service barriers in metro versus regional areas via the local Primary Health Networks.

Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray commended the research.

“Research is fundamental to developing suicide prevention solutions that work and are informed by evidence. Suicide is complex and more research is needed to gather evidence on how best to address suicide risks in young people,” Ms Murray said.

National FREE 24/7 Crisis Services: • Lifeline 13 11 14 • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 • MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 • Beyond Blue Support Service 1300 22 4636


National study shows suicide prevention requires localised approach (The Catholic Leader)