Intentional self-harm in culturally and linguistically diverse communities: a study of hospital admissions in Victoria, Australia

Thi Thu Le Pham, Kerry S. O’Brien, Janneke Berecki-Gisolf, Sara Liu, Katharine Gibson, Angela Clapperton

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To examine the rates and profiles of intentional self-harm hospital admissions among people from culturally and linguistically diverse and non-culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Methods: A retrospective analysis of 29,213 hospital admissions for self-harm among people aged 15 years or older in Victoria, Australia, was conducted using data from the Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset between 2014/2015 and 2018/2019. The Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset records all hospital admissions in public and private hospitals in Victoria (population 6.5 million). Population-based incidence of self-harm, logistic regression and percentages (95% confidence intervals) were calculated to compare between culturally and linguistically diverse groups by birthplaces and the non-culturally and linguistically diverse groups of self-harm admissions. Results: When grouped together culturally and linguistically diverse individuals had lower rates of (hospital-treated) self-harm compared with the non-culturally and linguistically diverse individuals. However, some culturally and linguistically diverse groups such as those originating from Sudan and Iran had higher rates than non-culturally and linguistically diverse groups. Among self-harm hospitalised patients, those in the culturally and linguistically diverse group (vs non-culturally and linguistically diverse group) were more likely to be older, Metropolitan Victorian residents, from the lowest socioeconomic status, and being ever or currently married. Self-harm admissions by persons born in Southern and Eastern Europe were the oldest of all groups; in all other groups number of admissions tended to decrease as age increased whereas in this group the number of admissions increased as age increased. Conclusion: There was considerable heterogeneity in rates of hospital-treated self-harm in culturally and linguistically diverse communities, with some countries of origin (e.g. Sudan, Iran) having significantly higher rates. Some of this variation may be due to factors relating to the mode of entry into Australia (refugee vs planned migration), and future research needs to examine this possibility and others, to better plan for support needs in the culturally and linguistically diverse communities most affected by self-harm. Combining all culturally and linguistically diverse people into one group may obscure important differences in self-harm. Different self-harm prevention strategies are likely to be needed for different culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-81
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • country of birth
  • culturally and linguistically diverse
  • culturally diverse
  • ethnicity
  • intentional overdose
  • Intentional self-harm
  • self-harm
  • suicide

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