There has been a lack of investigation into the spatial distribution and clustering of suicide in Australia, where the population density is lower than many countries and varies dramatically among urban, rural and remote areas. This study aims to examine the spatial distribution of suicide at a Local Governmental Area (LGA) level and identify the LGAs with a high relative risk of suicide in Queensland, Australia, using geographical information system (GIS) techniques.
Data on suicide and demographic variables in each LGA between 1999 and 2003 were acquired from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. An age standardised mortality (ASM) rate for suicide was calculated at the LGA level. GIS techniques were used to examine the geographical difference of suicide across different areas.
Far north and north-eastern Queensland (i.e., Cook and Mornington Shires) had the highest suicide incidence in both genders, while the south-western areas (i.e., Barcoo and Bauhinia Shires) had the lowest incidence in both genders. In different age groups (≤24 years, 25 to 44 years, 45 to 64 years, and ≥65 years), ASM rates of suicide varied with gender at the LGA level. Mornington and six other LGAs with low socioeconomic status in the upper Southeast had significant spatial clusters of high suicide risk.