Recent evidence has shown that suicide among young Australian women is increasing, and a researcher with funding from Australian Rotary Health is determined to find out why.

Mental Health Research Grant recipient Angela Clapperton at Monash University is researching suicide and increasing episodes of non-fatal intentional self-harm among young women in Victoria.

“There is evidence that suicide among young Australian women is increasing,” Angela said.

“In addition, thousands of young women are treated in hospitals each year for non-fatal intentional self-harm, and recent research suggests the frequency and rate of these instances is also increasing.”

Angela suspects that one possible explanation for this increase is that young women are using increasingly lethal methods.

“This project aims to determine the extent to which hospital-treated incidents of intentional self-harm are precursors to death by suicide in young women.”

“In particular, the aim is to determine whether there is evidence that young women are engaging in repeat episodes of international self-harm, and whether these repeat episodes are involving increasingly lethal methods.”

Angela and her team will address these questions by linking three datasets including the Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset, the Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset and the Victorian Suicide Register.

“The study has the potential to improve the mental health of young Australians by helping us to determine whether patterns of suicidal behavioural among young women are changing and if so, to determine how they are changing.”

“Improved understanding of these patterns will allow us to tailor more specific, targeted interventions that will help to reverse the current worrying trends.”

We wish Angela all the best with her research.


Media contact: Jessica Cooper – (02) 8837 1900 or