Investigating the Coronial Determination of Suicide as a Category of Death
Discovery Project: DP150101402 (2015 - 2017)
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 ways of operationalising suicide, the clarification of the role of the coroners regarding suicide determination, and the more effective targeting of suicide prevention programs.
- Gordon Tait, Belinda Carpenter, Diego De Leo & Colin Tatz (2015) Problems with the coronial determination of ‘suicide’, Mortality: Promoting the interdisciplinary study of death and dying, 20:3, 233-247, DOI: 10.1080/13576275.2015.1012489
Researchers: Prof Belinda Carpenter; A/Prof Gordon Tait; Prof Diego De Leo; Prof Colin Tatz
Funded by: Australian Research Council
Managed by: Queensland University of Technology
Provided by: Australian Research Council
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 multi-dimensional 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.
Chief Investigators: Griffith University - Prof Diego De Leo, Dr Kairi Kõlves
Influences on farmer suicide in Queensland and New South Wales
Australian Research Council Linkage Project LP120100021 (2012-2015)
Partners include University of Newcastle, Australasian Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, Hunter New England Local Health Network, Queensland Health, Queensland Office of the State Coroner
There is increasing concern about the number of suicide deaths in Australian farmers. It has been estimated that, over the period 1997-2002, this occupational group had a suicide rate between 24.8 and 52.4 per 100,000. These rates were between 1.5- and 2.2-times higher than suicide rates among the general population of Australia during that same time period. More recent evidence indicates that the suicide rate among Queensland’s agricultural workers (a group which includes farmers, farm managers, farm hands, and shearers) was over twice the rate of the general employed population (i.e., 24.1 versus 10.6 per 100,000). However, although there is a great deal of speculation about influences on farmer suicide, past research has not investigated the factors explaining the higher burden of suicide in Australian farmers.
The aims of this study are to:
- Determine the prevalence of fatal suicidal behaviour within farming-related occupations in QLD and NSW;
- Determine the risk and protective influences (as well as cultural and attitudinal factors regarding stigma, and help-seeking) related to fatal suicidal behaviour within farming-related occupations in QLD and NSW;
- Determine the developmental process, including the sequence of events and risk factors associated with fatal suicidal behaviour in farming-related occupations;
- Investigate attitudes towards suicide and help-seeking in farming communities.
Chief Investigators: Griffith University - Prof Diego De Leo; University of Newcastle –Prof Brian Kelly
Suicide in Farming Communities
We invite you to participate in helping to understand more about suicide and suicidal behaviours, in the aims of preventing and reducing the number of loved ones affected every year.
Incidence of suicide in Australian farmers is higher than the national average, and many factors contribute to this increased risk. The purpose of this study is to identify risk and protective factors linked to suicide in farming communities. We are looking for participants to take part in a phone interview, conducted by a clinical interviewer where you would talk about your close one. You are welcome to participate if: you are aged 18 years or over; you are next-of-kin of either a farmer who died by suicide, a farmer who died by sudden death, or a living farmer; and you would be willing to give two hours of your time to talk to us. This information will assist us in understanding the issues specific to Australian farmers who died by suicide.
If you’d like to participate or would like more information about this study: please contact Lisa Kunde on 07 3735 1144 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
This research is part of a larger project, funded by the Australian Research Council, and is conducted by the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention in collaboration with the University of Newcastle and other partner organisations. Your privacy will be protected at all times and any information provided will remain confidential. This study has been approved by the Griffith University Ethics Committee.
- Arnautovska U, McPhedran S, De Leo D (2015) . Differences in characteristics between suicide cases of farm managers compared to those of farm labourers in Queensland, Australia. Rural Remote Health 15(3):3250.
- Arnautovska U, McPhedran S, De Leo D (2013). A regional approach to understanding farmer suicide rates in Queensland. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 49(4):593-599.
- McPhedran S, De Leo D (2013). Miseries suffered, unvoiced, unknown? Communication of suicidal intent by men in ‘rural’ Queensland, Australia. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 43(6):589-597.
- McPhedran S, De Leo D (2013). Risk factors for suicide among rural Australian men: Are farmers more socially isolated? International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 33(11/12):762-772.
- Kavalidou K, McPhedran S, De Leo D (2013). Farmers' contact with healthcare services prior to suicide: Evidence for the role of General Practitioners as an intervention point. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 21(1):102-105
- Kairi Kõlves, Allison Milner, Kathy McKay & Diego De Leo (eds) (2012): Suicide in rural and remote areas of Australia. Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Brisbane.
Trends and predictors of suicide in Australian children
Australian Research Council Linkage Project LP0990918 (2010-2012). Partners include Queensland Health, Queensland Office of the State Coroner, Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, Department of Education, Training and Arts.
Child suicide is a major public concern both in Australia and internationally. In Australia, the rates for children younger than 15 years is estimated to have increased by 92% between the 1960s to 1990s. The overall aim of this project is to obtain a better understanding of factors surrounding child suicide in Australia, with a focusing on Queensland. Aggregated and individual level data will be used in order to evaluate the magnitude of the problem, to determine predictive factors and to develop recommendations for suicide prevention among Australian children under the age of 15 years. As the negative impact of the death of a child extends to include parents, an additional component of the project focuses on the impact of the child’s suicide on the psychosocial functioning of parent survivors.
- KÕLVES, K; DE LEO, D. (2015) Child, adolescent and young adult suicides: A comparison based on the Queensland Suicide Registry. Journal of Child & Adolescent Behaviour, 3:3.
- KÕLVES, K; DE LEO, D. (2015) Adolescent suicide rates in 1990-2009: Analysis of age group 15 to 19 years worldwide. Journal of Adolescent Health
- SOOLE, R; KÕLVES, K; DE LEO, D. (2015) Suicide in children: A systematic review. Archives of Suicide Research, 19: 285-304.
- KÕLVES, K; DE LEO, D. (2014) Suicide rates in children aged 10 to 14 years worldwide: Changes in the last two decades. British Journal of Psychiatry, 205: 283-85.
- KÕLVES, K; DE LEO, D. (2014) Regions with the highest suicide rates for children and adolescents – some observations. (editorial) Journal of Child & Adolescent Behaviour, 2:2:1000e104.
- SOOLE, R; KÕLVES, K; DE LEO, D. (2014) Suicides in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: Analysis of Queensland Suicide Register. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 38: 547-78.
- SOOLE, R; KÕLVES, K; DE LEO, D. (2014) Factors related to childhood suicides: Analysis of the Queensland Child Death Register. Crisis, 35: 292-300.
- KÕLVES, K. (2010) Child suicide, family environment and economic crisis (editorial). Crisis, 31(3), 115-17.
Chief Investigators: Prof. Diego De Leo, Dr Kairi Kolves
Biannual literature review – Suicide Research: Selected Readings
Commonwealth Department of Health, Australian Government.Following the appointment of AISRAP as the National Centre of Excellence in Suicide Prevention by the Department of Health, AISRAP has committed to provide a biannual critical literature review outlining recent advances and promising developments in international research in suicide prevention. The main aim of these publications is to collate all newly released publications (research articles, editorials, letters, case reports) that explicitly refer to fatal and/or non-fatal suicidal behaviours and related issues. A particular attention is paid to new promising lines of suicide research that carry potential for practical implications in the Australian context.
Each volume has three distinctive parts - Citation List is a collection of references of all retrieved publications over the preceding 6 months, Recommended Readings represents a selection of research articles of particular significance and their abstracts, while Key Article is 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 are provided.
Chief Investigator: Prof. Diego De Leo
Research staff involved: Dr Kairi Kolves, Mr Adam Novic
Suicide Trends in At-Risk Territories Study in the Western Pacific Region: The START Study
Commonwealth Department of Health and World Health Organization.
Evidence from the World Health Organization shows that in 2002, the rate of suicide in the Western Pacific Region was 19/100,000, which is more than 30% higher than the average world rate for the same year (14/100,000) (World Health Organization, 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 first stage of the study commenced with a four-day training workshop in March 2006 with twenty nations in attendance. A training and research protocol manual has been developed to assist these countries in conducting the study. This study will provide significant insights into the cultural factors involved in suicidal behaviours not only in the region but also in Australia.
General Management: Dr Wang Xiangdong (Western Pacific Region Office of the World Health Organization)
Chief Investigator: Prof. Diego De Leo
Research staff involved: Dr Kairi Kolves
Suicide Prevention in Tonga: Address by Professor Diego De Leo and Dr Allison Milner - December 2011
Beyond psychopathology:pathways to suicide in mentally well young adult males
Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2008-2011). Partners include the Queensland Office of the State Coroner and Queensland Health.
The goal of this study is to investigate suicide risk factors among adult males in Australia (25-44 age) with no psychiatric diagnosis. The psychological autopsy (interviews with the next-of-kin of the suicide victims) will be used together with analysis of coronial, police and medical files and compared with a control group of sudden death victims. This study aims to investigate whether there are any differences in the contributing risk factors. It will review their relative influences, in order to develop and implement targeted suicided prevention initiatives beyond those based on a medical/psychiatric treatment paradigm.
Chief Investigator: Prof. Diego De Leo
Research Staff involved: Dr Kairi Kolves
Queensland Suicide Register
Queensland Health (since 1990). Partners include the Queensland State Coroner Office and Coronial Support Unit, Queensland Police Service.
The Queensland Suicide Register, funded by the Queensland Health, is the only comprehensive database of its type in Australia and in the Asia Pacific region, and central to many of AISRAP’s research. The database includes information on all suicides of Queensland residents from 1990 to present, with data obtained from three sources: post-mortem forms, toxicology reports, and Form 1 (including psychological autopsy reports). Psychological autopsy reports are completed by Queensland Police officers in the investigation of possible suicides, following interviews with those close to the deceased, and include information pertaining to psychosocial, behavioural, and demographic data. Form 1 is continually utilised by both AISRAP and the Office of the State Coroner, with latest version adopted in 2007.
All suicide cases in the QSR are classified into one of the following categories: Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Probable, and Possible. The Queensland Suicide Register is the major source of data used in the preparation of the triennial suicide report, the most recent being Suicide in Queensland 2002 to 2004, released in 2006. Publication of the next report, Suicide in Queensland 2005-2007, is anticipated for late 2010.
Some examples of previously conducted research based on the Queensland Suicide Register data include:
- Trends in suicide and suicide methods
- Suicide in the building industry
- Suicide from the Story Bridge
- Suicide and schizophrenia
- Suicide in the Queensland Rail
- Suicides and motor vehicle accidents
- Firearm suicides
- Suicide in opiate users
- Relationship issues and suicides
- Suicide risk in selected occupations
- Suicide in Indigenous populations
Research staff involved: Dr Kairi Kolves, Mr Adam Novic, Mr Jasper Greene