Background There is a lack of epidemiological data on suicide in Bangladesh. Suicide is grossly under reported in the national records. This study was designed to show the changes in suicide events in Bangladesh between 2003 and 2016.
Methods Two community-based cross-sectional surveys at national scale, Bangladesh Health and Injury Surveys (BHIS), were conducted in 2003 and 2016, which included data on suicide events of 2002 and 2015 respectively. Both followed similar methodology, using multistage cluster sampling method. The data was collected using a pretested semi-structured questionnaire. The cause of death was ascertained through verbal autopsy.
Results An estimated rate of 6.2 (CI: 4.5 – 7.9) and 11.4 (CI: 7.5 – 15.2) suicides per 100,000 per year occurred in 2002 and 2015, respectively. From 2002 to 2015, an increase in suicide rates among almost all age groups was noted. The rate among adolescents in 2015 was 32.7 (CI: 18.4 – 47.1), which was significantly higher than the rate in 2002 which was 8.6 (CI: 4.4 – 12.9). Similarly, the rates of suicide were higher among females and urban dwellers in 2015 compared to 2002. Poisoning and hanging were the most frequent method of suicide in 2002 and 2015, respectively.
Conclusion The method of committing suicide did not change over the years between 2002 and 2015. However, the rates of suicide increased among adolescents, females and urban dwellers.
Learning outcomes Further researches are required to explore the epidemiology of suicides and attempted suicides in Bangladesh to design effective interventions.
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