Epidemiology of attempted suicide in Canterbury Province, New Zealand (1993-2002)

N Z Med J. 2004 Nov 5;117(1205):U1141.


Aims: Non-fatal suicide attempts incur substantial costs in morbidity, subsequent mortality, and service utilisation. This study reviews trends in admissions to Christchurch Hospital for attempted suicide during the 10-year period 1993-2002, inclusive. The influences of age, gender, and method of suicide attempt on time trends were examined.

Methods: Participants were a consecutive series of 3711 individuals admitted to Christchurch Hospital for attempted suicide from 1993 to 2002. The following measures were available: age, gender, method of suicide attempt, and admission date. Logistic regression analysis was used to test trends over time. RESULTS The number of admissions for attempted suicide increased from 1993 to 2002. Admissions increased for females (but not for males) and for those persons aged over 25. There was an increase in the number of admissions for female youth, but not for male youth or youth overall. Admissions for cutting/stabbing increased, while admissions for overdose/poisoning decreased.

Conclusions: Trends observed at Christchurch Hospital for admissions for attempted suicide contrast with New Zealand's death by suicide rate, which has declined slightly over the last decade. Increases in attempted suicide admissions in adults, older adults, and females highlight the need for intervention strategies to be targeted at both males and females of all ages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / trends*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Sex Distribution
  • Suicide, Attempted / trends*