Suicide and mental health

National Ambulance Surveillance System (NASS)


This surveillance system addresses the need for timely and robust data in the areas of self-harm and mental health. These data make a unique contribution to understanding suicide and self-harm as it:

  • captures suicidal ideation, suicide attempt and non-suicidal injury that is not captured in other data sets, and
  • offers data is timely – ambulance data is available within months of the event, thereby enabling more timely evaluation of interventions, patterns and at-risk populations (whilst suicide death data can take up to three years before they are available).

A previous project (Beyond the Emergency) demonstrated the ability for ambulance data to provide robust and timely data on suicide and mental ill health issues in men. This project demonstrated the importance of these data for the entire Australian population. Such a need has been identified in the Mental Health Commission’s National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (reflected both in priority areas and key recommendations) and Council of Australian Governments (COAG’s) Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform 2012-2022. This project is funded by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) as an important contribution to the National Suicide Information Initiative, as announced in the 2019-20 Commonwealth Budget.

Project team

Dr Debbie Scott, Dr Rowan Ogeil, Ms Naomi Beard, Ms Jessica Killian, Dr James Wilson, Dr Dhanya Nambiar, Mr Sam Campbell, Mr Nik Suresh, Turning Point ambulance data coding team, database staff.

Learn more about the project

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