Suicides in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: Analysis of Queensland Suicide Register
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Objective: Suicide rates among Indigenous Australian children are higher than for other Australian children. The current study aimed to identify factors associated with Indigenous child suicide when compared to other Australian children. Methods: Using the Queensland Suicide Register, suicides in Indigenous children (10-14 years) and other Australian children in the same age band were compared. Results: Between 2000 and 2010, 45 child suicides were recorded: 21 of Indigenous children and 24 of other Australian children. This corresponded to a suicide rate of 10.15 suicides per 100,000 for Indigenous children - 12.63 times higher than the suicide rate for other Australian children (0.80 per 100,000). Hanging was the predominant method used by all children. Indigenous children were significantly more likely to suicide outside the home, to be living outside the parental home at time of death, and be living in remote or very remote areas. Indigenous children were found to consume alcohol more frequently before suicide, compared to other Australian children. Current and past treatments of psychiatric disorders were significantly less common among Indigenous children compared to other Australian children. Conclusions: Western conceptualisation of mental illness may not adequately embody Indigenous people's holistic perspective regarding mental health. Further development of culturally appropriate suicide prevention activities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is required.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Community Child Health