Trends in mortality from suicide, 1965–99

Authors

  • F. Levi,

    1. Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Bugnon, Lausanne, Switzerland
    2. Cancer Registry of Vaud, University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, CHUV-Falaises, Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • C. La Vecchia,

    1. Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Bugnon, Lausanne, Switzerland
    2. Laboratory of Epidemiology, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Via Eritrea, Milan, Italy
    3. Institute of Medical Statistics and Biometry, University of Milan, Via Venezian, Milan, Italy
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  • F. Lucchini,

    1. Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Bugnon, Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • E. Negri,

    1. Laboratory of Epidemiology, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Via Eritrea, Milan, Italy
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  • S. Saxena,

    1. Mental Health and Substance Dependence Department, World Health Organization, Avenue Appia, Geneva, Switzerland
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  • P. K. Maulik,

    1. Mental Health and Substance Dependence Department, World Health Organization, Avenue Appia, Geneva, Switzerland
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  • B. Saraceno

    1. Mental Health and Substance Dependence Department, World Health Organization, Avenue Appia, Geneva, Switzerland
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Fabio Levi, Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Bugnon 17, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland
E-mail: fabio.levi@inst.hospvd.ch

Abstract

Objective: To analyse trends in mortality from suicide over the period 1965–99.

Method: Data were derived from the WHO database, including data for 47 countries.

Results: In the European Union (EU), all age suicide mortality peaked at 16.1/100 000 in men in 1980–84, and declined thereafter to 14.4/100 000 in 1995–98. In females, the fall was 29% to reach 4.6/100 000. A similar pattern of trends was observed in several eastern European countries. In contrast, mortality from suicide rose substantially in the Russian Federation, from 37.7/100 000 in males in 1985–89 to 58.3/100 000 in 1995–98 (+55%), and to 9.5/100 000 (+12%) in females. In the USA and most other American countries providing data, no consistent pattern was evident for males, but falls were observed in females. Steady declines were registered for Japan, starting from the highest suicide rates worldwide in the late 1950s. Suicide rates were upwards in Ireland, Italy, Spain, the UK, Cuba, Australia and New Zealand. Substantial rises were observed in a few countries (Ireland, Cuba, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand) for young males.

Conclusion: In spite of mixed trends, suicide remains a significant public health problem worldwide.

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