Year: 2016 Source: Archives of Suicide Research.(2016).20(2):176-190. DOI:10.1080/13811118.2015.1004496 SIEC No: 20160252

The objective of this study is to address the question: are those who leave suicide notes representative of the larger population of those who commit suicide? The method involves an analysis of a full population of suicides by residents of Queensland, Australia for the full year of 2004, with the information drawn from Coronial files. Our overall results suggest that, and in support of previous research, the population who leaves suicide notes are remarkably similar to those who do not. Differences are identified in four areas: first, and in contrast to prior research, females are less likely to leave a suicide note; second, and in support of previous research, Aboriginal Australians are less likely to leave suicide notes; third, and in support of some previous research, those who use gas as a method of suicide are more likely to leave notes, while those who use a vehicle or a train are less likely to leave notes; finally, our findings lend support to research which finds that those with a diagnosed mental illness are less likely to leave notes. The discussion addresses some of the reasons these disparities may have occurred, and continues the debate over the degree to which suicide notes give insight into the larger suicide population.