Our Research

In 2008, AISRAP was appointed the National Centre of Excellence in Suicide Prevention (NCESP), funded by the Commonwealth Government through the then Department of Health and Ageing (now Department of Health)'s National Suicide Prevention Program. The Centre played a key role in the Australian Government’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy by providing advice around evidence based best practice, bi-annual reviews of recent advances and promising developments, evaluations of suicide prevention activities, and analyses of the credibility and implications of national and international data on suicide. With the advent of the Primary Health Networks, AISRAP’s funding as a National Centre of Excellence in Suicide Prevention ceased in March 2017. AISRAP is the only World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Suicide Prevention in Australia.

Research publications

National Centre of Excellence in Suicide Prevention

Suicide in rural and remote areas of Australia

Research suggests that, in rural Australia, males, youth, farmers, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait people are at a high risk for suicide. This report presents a holistic examination of suicide in regional and remote Australia. It focuses predominantly on the Queensland experience and investigates a wide range of psychological, environmental, and cultural factors.

The report found that greater recognition of the potential stressors associated with living and working in rural contexts is needed by federal and state governments, health-service providers, and the academic community.

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Suicidal behaviours LGBT populations

Same-sex attraction is a common feature of human sexuality, documented across history and cultures. While there is nothing inherently suicidogenic about sexual minority identity or status, a degree of continued stigma at family and societal levels in relation to minority sexualities and genders has led researchers to believe, for some time, that there is a relationship between suicidal behaviour and sexual minorities, especially in adolescence.

This report reviews articles published in English in peer-reviewed academic journals related to suicidal behaviour among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual individuals (LGBT; or a subset of these). It examines recent international literature (published since 2000) and all Australian studies identified.

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SUICIDAL BEHAVIOURS IN MEN: DETERMINANTS AND PREVENTION IN AUSTRALIA

Male suicide rates are almost universally higher than those of females around the world. In Australia, death by suicide is three- to four-times more common in men than in women, although women engage in more non-fatal suicidal behaviours. Specific male groups—such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, men of sexual minorities, old and young men, and men working in stressful conditions or who are imprisoned—are at even greater risk of suicide.

This report investigates the phenomenon of suicidal behaviour in men. It presents current research on the factors behind male vulnerability to suicide, how male suicides can be prevented, and activities currently undertaken that aim to reduce suicidal behaviours, with a focus on Australian males.

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Suicide and community-dwelling older Australians

Aim: to provide an holistic analysis of suicide and suicide prevention in community-dwelling older Australians.

Part 1: Contextual analysis of the suicide rates in older people (65+) in Australia

Suicide rates in the older population in Australia (SDD level) will be examined in relation to the variety of contextual factors related to the physical and social environments.

Part 2: Individual level factors related to suicides in older adults

Analyse individual level factors of suicides in older adults. Analysis will focus on suicides by older people aged 65+ years and compare those cases with the sudden death controls and suicides by middle aged and older adults (35-64 years). Quantitative analyses will be illustrated with selected case studies.

Part 3: Analysis of current suicide prevention initiatives targeting older people living in the community

An overview of currently existing suicide prevention activities targeting older people living in the Australian community will be presented. Potential gaps will be identified and further recommendations will be provided.

Suicidal behaviours and chronic diseases

Based on the list of chronic conditions identified in the National Public Health Partnership’s paper and the most prevalent long term conditions by the Australian Health Survey 2011-12, analysis of the existing literature on suicidal behaviours and following chronic conditions:

Based on the National Public Health Partnership’s paper
  • Asthma;
  • Ischaemic heart disease (also known as coronary heart disease);
  • Stroke;
  • Cancer (different types will be included);
  • Diabetes; Arthritis;
  • Osteoporosis; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • Chronic kidney disease
Additional from the Australian Health Survey
  • Allergy (Hayfever and allergic rhinitis);
  • Migraine;
  • Back pain/problems;
  • Epilepsy

POSTVENTION AUSTRALIA GUIDELINES

Suicide has long-lasting effects on the people who are left behind. The provision of support services to people bereaved by suicide – ‘postvention’ – is essential and should align with their needs in order to mitigate negative effects.

The aim of this document is to offer general guidelines to postvention service providers for people bereaved by suicide. The target audience for the guidelines is not only organisations who may provide postvention services, but also groups or individuals in contact with the bereaved such as frontline workers, health care professionals, social workers, funeral directors, and volunteers. The guidelines were prepared in collaboration between Postvention Australia and the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) with contributions from Australian experts in postvention.

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Best practice models for delivering suicide prevention

The aim of the research project was to fill the current knowledge gap in in best practice in suicide prevention, by providing an overview of how various levels of interventions might be most effectively integrated and tailored into models to meet individual community needs. The research was conducted through a comprehensive literature review across peer-reviewed journal papers and books, grey literature, government reports, and other relevant documents. The key conceptual models of suicide prevention were described, including the levels that comprise them and the rationale for their application. International examples were provided of how interventions and strategies have been successfully implemented in specific contexts. Common elements of international suicide prevention strategies were identified, as well as challenges to effective implementation.

Using the public health model as a framework, the report outlined the fundamental activities to suicide prevention, ways to build partnerships between communities and government, how to minimise overlap between interventions and programs, and summarised the key activities for developing a best practice overarching suicide prevention strategy. The literature reviewed provided a synthesis of existing research evidence, policy and practice on best practice models of suicide prevention.<>/p>

Final report: Ross V & De Leo D (2015) Best Practice Models for Delivering Suicide Prevention. Report to DoH. Australian Institute for Suicide research and Prevention.

International Suicide Rates: Recent Trends and Implications for Australia

The project aimed to update a report which was published in 2003 (funded by DoHA, for more details see De Leo & Evans, 2003). The last decade has added new knowledge and there have been changes to the time trends worldwide. The report presented and examined recent time trends (1990 to the most recent available) of suicide mortality around the world (47 countries) and in Australia in order to compare Australian trends with other countries. The report presented discussion around the potential impact of global economic crisis, current national suicide prevention strategies, mental health plans and alcohol policies, and consumption of different countries.

Final report: Kõlves K & De Leo D (with contributions from Potts B & Ross V) (2015) International suicide rates: Recent trends and implications for Australia. Report to DoH. Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention.

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National Centre of Excellence in Suicide Preventiion