Development of a Self-Harm Monitoring System for Victoria
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The prevention of suicide and suicide-related behaviour are key policy priorities in Australia and internationally. The World Health Organization has recommended that member states develop self-harm surveillance systems as part of their suicide prevention efforts. This is also a priority under Australia's Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. The aim of this paper is to describe the development of a state-based self-harm monitoring system in Victoria, Australia. In this
... ralia. In this system, data on all self-harm presentations are collected from eight hospital emergency departments in Victoria. A natural language processing classifier that uses machine learning to identify episodes of self-harm is currently being developed. This uses the free-text triage case notes, together with certain structured data fields, contained within the metadata of the incoming records. Post-processing is undertaken to identify primary mechanism of injury, substances consumed (including alcohol, illicit drugs and pharmaceutical preparations) and presence of psychiatric disorders. This system will ultimately leverage routinely collected data in combination with advanced artificial intelligence methods to support robust community-wide monitoring of self-harm. Once fully operational, this system will provide accurate and timely information on all presentations to participating emergency departments for self-harm, thereby providing a useful indicator for Australia's suicide prevention efforts.