Background Suicide is a significant public health problem internationally. Recent suicide mortality by method is unexamined.
Methods Using mortality data from the WHO mortality database, we compared sex-, age-, and country-specific suicide mortality by method for 58 countries worldwide between 2000 and 2015. Changes in suicide mortality were quantified using negative binomial models among three age groups for males and females separately.
Results Suicide mortality declined substantially for both sexes and all three age groups studied in 37 of the 58 included countries between 2000 and 2015. Males consistently had much higher suicide mortality rates than females in all 58 countries. Hanging was the most common suicide method in the majority of countries. Sex-specific suicide mortality varied across the countries significantly for all three age groups. The spectrum of suicide method generally remained stable for 28 of the 58 included countries; notable changes occurred in the other 30 countries, including especially Colombia, Finland and Trinidad and Tobago.
Conclusion Likely as a result of prevention efforts as well as sociodemographic changes, suicide mortality decreased substantially in 37 of the included 58 countries between 2000 and 2015. Further action is recommended to explore specific drivers of recent changes (particularly for increasing suicide rates in eight countries), to understand substantial disparities in suicide rates across countries, and to develop interventions to reduce suicide rates globally.
Learning Outcomes Between 2000 and 2015, suicide mortality decreased in 37 countries but increased in 8. Suicide spectrum by method experienced substantial changes over time in several countries.
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