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Home as the first site for suicide prevention: a Hong Kong experience


Introduction There has been little research into at-home suicide cases globally, and particularly in Asian regions. This study aimed to investigate the differences in characteristics between suicide cases in Hong Kong that occurred at home and elsewhere; identify at-home suicide hotspots in the community and compare the differences in area-level characteristics between suicide hotspots and other areas.

Methods Suicide cases (2013–2017) were identified from Hong Kong Coroner’s Court reports. Area-level socioeconomic data were retrieved from the 2016 Hong Kong census. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests, χ2 tests and multiple logistic regression models were applied to compare differences in characteristics between people committing suicide at home and elsewhere. Global hotspot tests (Moran’s I and Getis-Ord General G) and local analysis (Getis-Ord Gi*) identified at-home suicide community hotspots. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to compare differences in area-level characteristics between at-home suicide hotspots and non-hotspots.

Results About 60% of suicide cases in Hong Kong occurred at home. Being female, widowed and/or living alone were significant predictors of at-home suicide cases. A U-shaped association between age and at-home suicide was identified, with 32 years of age being the critical turning point. An at-home suicide hotspot was identified in the north-western region of Hong Kong, which had lower median household income, higher income inequality and higher percentages of households with single elderly people, and new arrivals, compared with other areas.

Conclusion Suicide prevention should start at home by restricting access to suicide methods. Community-based suicide prevention interventions with improvement of social services should target vulnerable members in identified suicide hotspots.

  • mental health
  • suicide/self-harm
  • public health
  • community research
  • geographical / spatial analysis
  • home

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. The data that support the findings of this study are available from Hong Kong Coroner’s Court and Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department. Restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for this study. Data are available from Prof. Paul Siu Fai Yip with the permission of Hong Kong Coroner’s Court and Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department.

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