Established to advance research, both basic and applied, in suicide and suicide prevention

AISRAP secures national competitive research funding to pursue projects of significance to the research community and by offering a consulting service to government and community agencies and organisations committed to suicide prevention. Its staff publish in high quality peer-reviewed journals, present at national and international conferences, and prepare reports on projects designed to meet clients’ needs. Management of the QSR provides a primary resource for research. Staff prepare reviews and regular updates of the research literature (Selected Readings) to inform policy makers and community groups. AISRAP also provides expertise in evaluation of research and community suicide prevention activities.

Griffith Experts

To view our researchers publications and contact details visit the Griffith Experts page

Current projects


The Queensland Suicide Register (QSR)

The QSR is one of the most comprehensive suicide surveillance systems of its kind in Australia and in the Asia Pacific region, and central to many of AISRAP’s research projects. The register has 519 variables and includes information on 18,500 suspected and apparent suicides of Queensland residents from 1990 to 2016, with data obtained from four sources: the Form 1 Police report of a death to a coroner (including a brief psychological autopsy report), post-mortem autopsy reports, toxicology reports and coroners' reports. Queensland Police Officers complete the Form 1s when investigating suspected suicides, following interviews with those close to the deceased, and include psychosocial, behavioural, and demographic information in their reports. All suspected suicides in the QSR are classed into one of the following four categories: Unlikely, possible, probable or beyond reasonable doubt. Those classified as probably or beyond reasonable doubt account for 95% of all deaths in the QSR and are counted as suicides in QSR reports. Further information about the QSR is available here.

The interim Queensland Suicide Register (iQSR)

The iQSR is a real-time suicide surveillance system developed in 2011. QSR staff update it weekly by processing Form 1 police reports of suspected suicides received from the Queensland Police Service. It currently has 95 variables and information on 2,827 suspected suicides.

Those suspected suicides are crosschecked with the Coroners Court of Queensland at the end of each month. The iQSR currently includes all suspected suicides in Queensland from 2015 to the present week. Once a person's death has been fully investigated and the toxicology, post-mortem and coronial reports become available in the National Coronial Information System, AISRAP staff enter details of the suspected suicide into the QSR.

Past projects


National Centre of Excellence in Suicide Prevention (NCESP)

The aims of the Centre are to provide advice around evidence-based best practices and evaluation in suicide prevention, to support Australian Commonwealth Departments, non-government agencies, academics and community groups in  their respective initiatives in the field of suicide prevention.

The centre complements and adds value to the wide range of suicide prevention work being undertaken by the Department, other Commonwealth, State and Territory Government Departments, academics, clinicians and other service providers working in their field of suicide prevention across Australia. Best practice will be benchmarked against the highest international standards in suicide prevention, and might concern conception, planning, execution and evaluation of all undertaken activities. Scientific findings from the work of the Centre have been communicated in international refereed journals and other printed materials (e.g., volumes and reports), and also at national and international conferences. NCESP has involved a number of subprojects; the main subprojects are described here.

Biannual Literature Review – Suicide Research: Selected Readings

AISRAP provided a biannual critical literature review outlining recent advances and promising developments in international research in suicide prevention. The main aim of these publications was to collate all newly released publications (research articles, editorials, letters, case reports) that explicitly referred to fatal and/or non-fatal suicidal behaviours and related issues. Particular attention was paid to new promising lines of suicide research that carried potential for practical implications in the Australian context.

Each volume had three distinctive parts – the Citation List was a collection of references of all retrieved publications over the preceding six months, Recommended Readings represented a selection of research articles of particular significance and their abstracts, while Key Articles was a compilation of publications with particular relevance for Australian suicide prevention initiatives. For the latter, written comments detailing methodological strengths and weaknesses and the practical implications were provided. You can find the biannual literature reviews here.

Suicide Trends in At-Risk Territories Study in the Western Pacific Region: The WHO/START Study

Evidence from the World Health Organization showed that in 2002, the rate of suicide in the Western Pacific Region was 19 per 100,000, which was more than 30% higher than the average world rate for the same year (14 per 100,000) (WHO, 2004). The countries of the Western Pacific Region have significant cultural differences and are at varying stages of social and economic development.

The Suicide Trends in At-Risk Territories study was inspired by AISRAP and initiated by the Western Pacific Regional Office of World Health Organization to develop a greater understanding of the trends of both fatal and non-fatal suicidal behaviour, and to provide an appropriate cross-cultural treatment intervention.

As a Collaborating Centre for World Health Organization, the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention provides technical support for the project, which has also been endorsed by the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

The WHO/START Study has four main components:

  1. the monitoring of suicide deaths and attempts, including deliberate self-harm;
  2. a randomized-controlled intervention of suicide attempters(the brief intervention project);
  3. the psychological autopsy cross-cultural study; and,
  4. the follow-up of medically serious suicide attempters.

Suicide Prevention in Tonga:  Address by Professor Diego De Leo and Dr Allison Milner - December 2011

Bereavement of Suicide and Sudden Death

Losing someone to suicide can have devastating effects on the survivors left behind. The aims of the present study include the identification of the processes and impacts of bereavement on survivors in various age groups. It also aims to identify critical points during the bereavement and factors which exacerbate and moderate negative impacts. This has previously neglected in suicide research in Australia and its findings will add a multidimensional aspect to postvention not currently understood. It is expected that findings will help develop guidelines to ensure more effective detection and intervention for survivors, as well as enhancing social support and personal resilience.

Investigating the Coronial Determination of Suicide as a Category of Death

Data for suicide statistics can only come from official findings of suicide by a coroner, however this is a finding they are often reluctant to reach. The purpose of this project is to investigate how statistical calculations of suicide are dependent upon its coronial determination. This research will not only result in more defensible national suicide data, it will also clarify the degree to which the recurrent ‘problem’ of suicide data may lie in the coronial construction of suicide itself. Expected benefits of the project include the development of a more viable way of operationalising suicide, the clarification of the role of the coroners regarding suicide determination, and the more effective targeting of suicide prevention programs.

Suicides by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) has a strong interest in research into suicidal thoughts and behaviour in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Please find below links to some key recent publications that AISRAP has produced in this field.

A social–emotional wellbeing service innovation project

This social and emotional well-being project was conducted in partnership with Inala Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and Headspace Inala. It was associated with a reduction in suicidal ideation in the group participating in the program.

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