Background: Little is known about patterns of self-harm following release from prison.
Aim: To better understand the incidence and contextual characterisation of self-harm in adults following release from prison.
Methods: Baseline self-report interviews with 1315 adults immediately prior to release from prison in Queensland, Australia, then interrogation of linked health data from >3750 post-release emergency department presentations and >2000 ambulance attendances.
Results: Approximately 5% of contacts with medical emergency services resulted from self-harm. These were associated with being Indigenous, having a lifetime history of a mental disorder and having been identified by prison staff as being at risk of self-harm.
Conclusions: Medical emergency services have the potential to serve a unique yet vital role in suicide prevention.