Sunday, March 18, 2007

On Suicide

Suicide continues to be a major public health issue in Australia, in recent years. Although death by suicide is a relatively uncommon event, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the human and economic costs are substantial.

Suicide can be defined as the deliberate taking of one’s life. Thus, to be classified as suicide, a death must be recognised as being due to factors other than natural causes.

There were 2,101 deaths from suicide registered in Australia in 2005, similar to the number registered in the previous year. Nearly 80% of these were deaths of males.

Nevertheless, in 2005, the age-standardised suicide rate for males was 16.4 per 100,000 people; while the corresponding rate for females was 4.3 per 100,000, according to the ABS data.

The most common method of suicide was hanging (including strangulation and suffocation) which was used in 51% of all suicide cases.

Firearms accounted for 7% of suicide deaths, poisoning by drugs 12%, poisoning by other methods 16%, and drowning and other methods 14% of the suicide deaths (ABS).

In fact, from 1995-2005, the male suicide death rate was approximately four times higher than the corresponding female rate during this period.
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