Timing of completed suicides among residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, 1951–1985


Laurel A. Panser, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street S.W., Rochester, MN 55905, USA; Internet: panser@mayo.edu.


Previous studies of suicide timing may have been biased by incomplete ascertainment of suicides and by delays between the suicidal act and subsequent death. Those potential biases were assessed and minimized in this population-based study by using the unique resources of the Rochester Epidemiology Project in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Using these more accurate data, we confirmed previous reports of no excess suicides on birthdays (± 3 days), or during 3 United States national holidays. While most prior reports found excess post-holiday suicides and suicide peaks on Mondays, those findings were not observed in Olmsted County. Because 93% of deaths occurred on the date of the suicidal act, using date of death instead of the actual date of suicide is sufficient for most research purposes.