Thematic analysis of key factors associated with Indigenous and non-Indigenous suicide in the Northern Territory, Australia
Citation: Kuipers P, Appleton J, Pridmore S. Thematic analysis of key factors associated with Indigenous and non-Indigenous suicide in the Northern Territory, Australia. Rural and Remote Health 12: 2235. (Online) 2012. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au
Introduction: Given the impact of suicide on individuals, families and communities, particularly for rural, remote and Indigenous populations, the current study was undertaken to enhance understanding on this topic. Coroners’ reports were identified as a rich data source, amenable to thematic summary to reveal key factors associated with suicide.Key words: alcohol, Australia, conflict, Indigenous, mental health, social determinants, suicide, thematic analysis.
Methods: Thematic analysis was undertaken of 411 coroners’ reports of completed suicides across a 10 year period, occurring in the Northern Territory, Australia. Data were extracted numerically and qualitatively, categorised and tallied.
Results: Key factors associated with suicide in order of frequency of identification by coroners were (i) alcohol and other drug abuse, (ii) conflict and relationship breakdown and (iii) mental illness and mental health concerns. Considerable differences were noted between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cases. In addition to numerical summaries, examples of coroners’ comments are provided that underscore the relevance of these factors.
Conclusion: An array of factors was associated with suicide and considerable variation was found between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cases. The relative importance of social and contextual factors is confirmed for people at risk of suicide in rural, remote and Indigenous populations. These findings suggest relative priorities for suicide prevention and postvention.
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