3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2009 Quality Declaration 
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Contents >> Suicides >> Method of Suicide

METHOD OF SUICIDE

In 2009, the most frequent method of suicide was by Hanging, strangulation or suffocation (X70), a method used in just over half (51.3%) of all suicide deaths. Poisoning by drugs was used in 14.9% of suicide deaths, followed by poisoning by other methods including by alcohol and motor vehicle exhaust (11.7%). Methods using firearms accounted for 7.7% of suicide deaths. The remaining suicide deaths included deaths from drowning, jumping from a high place, and other methods.


Mechanism By Intent - Selected Causes

Coronial processes to determine the intent of a death (whether intentional self-harm, accidental, homicide, undetermined intent) are especially important for statistics on suicide deaths because information on intent is necessary to complete the coding under ICD-10 coding rules. Coroners' practices in determining the intent of a death may vary across the states and territories. In some cases, no statement of intent will be made by a coroner. The factors effecting coroner determination of intent may include legislative or regulatory barriers, sympathy with the feelings of the family, age of the deceased, or sensitivity to the cultural practices and religious beliefs of the deceased and/or their family. For some mechanisms of death where it may be very difficult to determine suicidal intent (e.g. single vehicle accidents, drownings), the burden of proof required for the coroner to establish that the cause of death was suicide may make a finding of suicide less likely.

The table below presents selected external causes of death by mechanism and intent. It is possible that additional suicide deaths are contained within the Intent categories of Accidental and Undetermined Intent, particularly for the mechanisms of poisoning and hanging. Refer to Explanatory Notes 80-83 for further information.

6.5 Selected external causes of death, Mechanism by intent - 2009(a)(b)

Accidental death
Intentional self-harm(c)
Assault
Undetermined intent
Other intent(d)
Total
Mechanism of death
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.

Poisonings (X40-X90, X60-X69, X85-X90, Y10-Y19)
799
566
3
345
0
1 713
Hanging (W75-W84, X70, X91, Y20)
220
1 093
6
127
0
1 446
Drowning and submersion (W65-W74, X71, X92, Y21)
182
43
1
54
0
280
Firearms (W32-W34, X72-X74, X93-X95, Y22-Y24)
6
164
30
24
0
224
Contact with sharp object (W25-W29, X78, X99, Y28)
9
55
74
22
0
160
Falls (W00-W19, X80, Y01,Y30)
1 370
81
0
29
0
1 480
Other(e)
2 736
130
95
393
225
3 579
Total
5 322
2 132
211
994
225
8 884

(a) Causes of death data for 2009 are preliminary and subject to a revisions process. See Technical Note: Causes of Death Revisions and Explanatory Notes 28-32.
(b) Data cells with small values have been randomly assigned to protect the confidentiality of individuals. As a result, some totals will not equal the sum of their components. Cells with a zero value have not been affected by confidentialisation.
(c) Includes ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and Y87.0. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes 80-83.
(d) Includes Complications of medical and surgical care (Y40-Y84), Legal Intervention and operations of war (Y35-Y36), Sequelae with surgical and medical care as external cause (Y88) and Sequelae of other external causes (Y89).
(e) Includes sequelea, explosives, smoke/fire/flames, blunt object, jumping or lying before moving object, crashing of motor vehicle, other and unspecified means.



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