Background Suicide is a public health problem all over the world. Traditionally, prevention has focused on risk factors, but a wider view of Social Determinants of Health -such as educational level- can offer new alternatives to better understand and prevent this phenomenon. AIM: To describe trends in inequalities in suicide mortality by educational level in the Colombian population between 1998 and 2015.
Methods Standardized suicide mortality rates were calculated by educational level, sex, and age in adult men and women (25 and over). A Poisson regression model was used. The relative inequalities in mortality were evaluated by calculating the RR (rate ratio) and the RII (relative index of inequality).
Results The number of reported deaths by suicide was 24 654, of which 84.74% were men and 48.47% were young adults. The standardized mortality rates (ASMR) were higher in the groups with the lowest educational level in both sexes and in all age groups, except for senior adult women. Likewise, men had higher rates than women (ASMR men=10.44/100,000, ASMR women=1.72/100,000). Men and women with lower educational levels had a higher mortality rates due to suicide.
Conclusion There is evidence of inequities by educational level in mortality due to suicide in Colombia. This suggests the need to work on suicide prevention strategies that go beyond the individual risk factors (like access to means of committing suicide, establishment of support networks, etc.) and to integrate the Social Determinants of Health as fundamental aspects in the reduction of inequalities, the improvement of people’s quality of life and therefore the mental health of the population.