Trends in national suicide rates for Scotland and for England & Wales, 1960-2008

Mok, P.L.H., Kapur, N., Windfuhr, K., Leyland, A.H. , Appleby, L., Platt, S. and Webb, R.T. (2012) Trends in national suicide rates for Scotland and for England & Wales, 1960-2008. British Journal of Psychiatry, 200(3), pp. 245-251. (doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.111.092908)

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Abstract

Background Suicide rates in Scotland have increased markedly relative to those in England in recent decades.

Aims To compare changing patterns of suicide risk in Scotland with those in England and Wales, 1960–2008.

Method For Scotland and for England and Wales separately, we obtained national data on suicide counts and population estimates. Gender-specific, directly age-standardised rates were calculated.

Results We identified three distinct temporal phases: 1960–1967, when suicide rates in England and Wales were initially higher than in Scotland, but then converged; 1968–1991, when male suicide rates in Scotland rose slightly faster than in England and Wales; and 1992–2008, when there was a marked divergence in national trends. Much of the recent divergence in rates is attributable to the rise in suicide among young men and deaths by hanging in Scotland. Introduction of the `undetermined intent' category in 1968 had a significant impact on suicide statistics across Great Britain, but especially so in Scotland.

Conclusions Differences in temporal patterns in suicide risk between the countries are complex. Reversal of the divergent trends may require a change in the perception of hanging as a `painless' method of suicide.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Leyland, Professor Alastair
Authors: Mok, P.L.H., Kapur, N., Windfuhr, K., Leyland, A.H., Appleby, L., Platt, S., and Webb, R.T.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:British Journal of Psychiatry
ISSN:0007-1250
ISSN (Online):1472-1465
Published Online:09 February 2012

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