High suicide rate among Surinamese men

02/10/2006 10:00

Suicide rates among Surinamese men and men from countries in Southern and Eastern Europe are much higher than among native Dutchmen. Suicide rates for Turkish and Moroccan men and women, on the other hand, are evidently lower than for native Dutch people, according to a survey conducted by Statistics Netherlands, which was published in the Dutch Journal of Medicine.

Suicide deaths by country/region of origin

Suicide deaths by country/region of origin

Large discrepancies among the various nationalities

The gross suicide death rate for the Netherlands was 9.6 per 100 thousand inhabitants in 2005, clearly below the global average. Suicide rates in most European countries also exceed the Dutch rate; suicide rates for Belgium and France are in fact much higher. The relatively low suicide rate in the Netherlands, however, hides striking differences between the various groups in the population. In general, suicides are more frequent among Western European non-natives and men from Eastern Europe, North, Central and South America, Iran, Sri Lanka and Oceania.

Suicides by ethnic background, 1996-2004

Suicides by ethnic background, 1996-2004

Lower suicide rates among Turks and Moroccans

Earlier surveys show that suicide attempts more often occur among young Turkish and Surinamese women. Data provided by Statistics Netherlands covering the period 1996-2004, however, show that suicide rates among these women are not higher than among native Dutch women. Suicide rates for non-western, non-native young adult males - excluding Moroccans - are however higher than among native Dutchmen.

Suicide rates among native Dutch and Surinamese

Suicide rates among native Dutch and Surinamese

High suicide rate among Surinamese men

The most striking suicide pattern is found among Surinamese people. Although suicide attempts among Surinamese women receive much attention, the suicide rate for Surinamese women does not differ a great deal from the suicide rate among native Dutchwomen. Suicide is relatively common among Surinamese men until they reach middle age.  

Joop Garssen and Jan Hoogenboezem