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The rate of fatality and demographic characteristics associated with various suicide methods: a community-based study in Northern Taiwan

Chun-Yi Lee, Ya-Wen Wu, Chih-Ken Chen, Liang-Jen Wang
Crisis 2014 January 1, 35 (4): 245-52

BACKGROUND: Understanding lethality and risk factors of suicide methods is an initial step in suicide prevention.

AIMS: To investigate the fatality rate and demographic characteristics of various suicide methods.

METHOD: This study enrolled consecutive individuals with episodes of suicide attempts registered in a surveillance database in a city with a high rate of suicide mortality in Taiwan, from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2010. In total, 3,089 suicide attempt events (including 2,583 nonfatal suicides and 506 completed suicides) occurred during the study period.

RESULTS: Overall, the fatality rate of suicides was 16.4%. Charcoal burning accounted for the most suicide deaths (37.6%), with a fatality rate of 50.1%. Suicide by hanging carried the highest fatality rate (81.2%). Males tended to choose more lethal methods and had higher fatality rates compared with females. Elders and married persons were less likely to attempt suicide by charcoal burning. The case fatality ratio increased along with age among suicide attempts, but not in those using charcoal burning.

CONCLUSION: The choice of suicide methods and lethality might be influenced by one's demographic characteristics. RESULTS from this study may provide clues for establishing suicide prevention strategies such as restricting access to common lethal suicide methods in the high-risk group.


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