Beyond the Emergency: How ambulance records are helping us tackle suicide

29 May 2019

Turning Point is using coded ambulance clinical records to monitor self-harm, mental ill health and substance use in the Australian community.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 44. More than 3000 people take their own lives in this country each year. Many, many more have thoughts about killing themselves, attempt suicide or self-injure. Alcohol and other drug use and mental ill health increase the risk of self-harm.

Ambulances attend around 2.5 million emergencies each year. More than 10 per cent of attendances involve self-harm, mental health symptoms or substance use. Paramedics are often the first, and sometimes the only, service people at risk of suicide will access.

Turning Point uses coded ambulance clinical records to monitor the level of substance, self-harm and mental-health-related harm that is experienced by the population as a whole.

Find out what we monitor and why in this video that demonstrates the important contribution this project is making to inform Australian public health responses.


Beyond The Emergency report coverTo learn more about what this surveillance system tells us about self-harm, mental ill health and substance use among Australian men, read the findings from the national Beyond the Emergency study.

A number of other projects use coded ambulance data to help inform public policy, including:

If you or anyone you know needs help contact one of these services: