More suicides in recent years

30/11/2010 15:00

A total of 1,525 people committed suicide in the Netherlands last year. The suicide rate has risen by 13 percent over the past two years. If a longer period is taken into account, the suicide rate in the older population has declined.

More suicides….

With 1,525 suicides in 2009, the annual suicide death toll was back the average over the past quarter of a century. Two thirds of suicides are men. Nearly half of victims of both genders are aged between 40 and 60.

The recent increase predominantly occurred in this age group. The number of people who committed suicide by hanging, strangling or suffocation has risen sharply since 2007. The number of train suicide victims did not increase.

Suicide methods

Suicide methods

….but long-term trend is downwards

Although the annual number of suicides has been fairly stable over the past 25 years, the suicide rate has dropped. Population growth and changes in the age composition of the population play a part in this respect. Corrected for these factors, the suicide rate per 100 thousand men has dropped from 17.3 in 1984 to 12.9 in 2009 and for women from 10.8 to 5.5 over the same period.

Suicide mortality rate, 1970-2009

Suicide mortality rate, 1970-2009

Noticeable reduction in the older population

Save for middle-aged men, the relation between age and suicide has changed dramatically over the past quarter of a century. The reduction was considerable across all age groups, but most noticeable in men in their seventies and over-80s. In these age categories, the suicide rate was approximately reduced by half. In the female population, the rate was reduced significantly across all age groups.

Suicide by age, men

Suicide by age, men

Jan Hoogenboezem and Joop Garssen