NCIS factsheet highlights frequency of self-harm deaths among emergency services personnel

Posted 10th October 2019 in Research

An average of 12 emergency services personnel die by intentional self-harm in Australia every year, according to a new fact sheet released by the National Coronial Information System (NCIS).

The fact sheet Intentional self-harm deaths of emergency services personnel in Australia examined all closed case intentional self-harm deaths of emergency services personnel reported to an Australian coroner between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2016.

The fact sheet includes frequencies and proportions of intentional self-harm deaths of current and former police, ambulance and fire services employees reported to an Australian state or territory coroner. It does not include volunteer emergency services personnel.

The variables included are: year of notification, service type, employment status, jurisdiction of investigation, age range, sex, mechanism of injury, firearm status, incident location type, mental health history and suicide attempt history.

Fact sheet findings

The fact sheet reviewed the circumstances of 197 intentional self-harm deaths of emergency services personnel reported in Australia and made a number of key findings, including:

  • The majority of deaths were of current or former police personnel (60.9%).
  • Nearly two-thirds of deaths were of people aged 31−50 years (64.5%).
  • In the majority of firearm-related deaths of police personnel, the firearm was a service weapon (57.9%).
  • In 80 cases the deceased was identified as being formally diagnosed with a mental health condition, and in 9.1% cases it was noted that the deceased had previously attempted suicide.

Read the full fact sheet below: