Suicidal behaviour by train collision in Queensland, 1990-2004
Objective: A study on the incidence of suicide in the train system and a description of main characteristics of victims and attempters was commissioned by Queensland Rail in response to an apparent increase of suicide phenomena and their consequences. Methods: Two sources of data were used for the analyses: the Queensland Suicide Register (QSR) and the Queensland Rail Incident Surveillance Information System (ISIS). Data on suicide were cross-checked on the two systems for the years 1990-2004. ISIS provided information on cases of attempted suicide for the period 1993-2206. Results: One hundred and sixty-one train suicide victims were identified. Globally, they represented 2% of all cases of suicide in Queensland. During the examined period no significant changes in trends of suicide through that method were found. Of all suicide cases, 59 (36.6%) included victims aged 15-24years. The ratio of male:female was 4:1, equal to the sex distribution of suicide with all methods in Queensland. Positive blood alcohol content was found in nearly 50% of young people and in 29.8% of the total sample. A psychiatric diagnosis was documented in 40.4% of all train suicide victims. Only 18 suicide attempters were identified through the ISIS database; of them, 15 were male and three were female, with a gender ratio similar to that of suicide victims. Conclusions: This study involved the largest dataset ever published in Australia on this topic. In Queensland, train suicides presented a stable trend during 1990-2004. Subjects of very young age (15-24) seem to be particularly exposed to this method; in this age group one in two individuals had positive blood alcohol content.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry