Department of Family and Community Services
A woman working on some technical equipment.

2.2 Intentional self-harm

share on Facebook share on Twitter share on Yammershare by email

Rates of hospitalisation for intentional self-harm, people 15 to 24 years

Current position

Young women’s rate of self-harm hospitalisation at 410 per 100,000 of population in 2011-12 is much higher than that of young men at 148 per 100,000.

For women of all ages, the rate was 164 per 100,000 in 2011-12, and for men of all ages it was 96 per 100,000 of population.

Gender gap

  • Young women are close to three times more likely to be hospitalised for self-harm than young men.
  • In the all-age population, women are 1.7 times more likely to be hospitalised for self-harm than men.
The direction of change over time

The rate of self-harm hospitalisation among young women reached a peak in the mid-2000s, and peaked a little later among young men (see Figure 2.3).

However, young women’s rate increased by 14.6 percentage points in 2011-12 compared to the previous year, and is again approaching mid-2000 levels.

The current gender gap is over 260 hospitalisations per 100,000 population. This represents a significant increase since 1990-91 when the gender gap was just 27 per 100,000 of population.


Rates of hospitalisation for intentional self-harm are consistently higher in women than men, and are also higher among young people than the rest of the population. Young men, on the other hand, are more likely to die from suicide than young women.

The gender difference is thought by NSW Health to be due in part to young men using more lethal means when attempting suicide. In 2007, young men suicided at nearly twice the rate of young women at 6.8 per 100,000 compared to 3.7 per 100,000 young women. However, young men’s rate of suicide has been decreasing in recent years, suggesting other factors are also involved.

Intentional self-harm hospitalisations are hospital stays for attempted suicides and purposively self-inflicted injuries or poisonings. They are cases where intentional self-harm is the main reason for the hospital stay.

Year collected: 2011-12 and preceding years.
Data source: NSW Admitted Patient Data Collection and ABS Population Estimates (SAPHaRI). More information is available at: Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health at

Figure 2.3 Hospitalisation for intentional self-harm, 15 to 24-year-olds, 1992-93 to 2011-12

Fig 2.3

Note: Self-harm is attempted suicide and purposively self-inflicted poisoning and injuries.
Population: People aged 15 to 24.
Source: NSW Admitted Patient Data Collection and ABS population estimates (SAPHaRI).