Global suicide rates among young people aged 15-19

World Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;4(2):114-20.


Global suicide rates among adolescents in the 15-19 age group, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) Mortality Database, were examined. Data for this age group were available from 90 countries (in some cases areas) out of the 130 WHO member states. The mean suicide rate for this age group, based on data available for the latest year, was 7.4/100,000. Suicide rates were higher in males (10.5) than in females (4.1). This applies in almost all countries. The exceptions are China, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador and Sri Lanka, where the female suicide rate was higher than the male. In the 90 countries (areas) studied, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death among young males and the third for young females. Of the 132,423 deaths of young people in the 90 countries, suicide accounted for 9.1%. The trend of suicide rates from 26 countries (areas) with data available during the period 1965-1999 was also studied. A rising trend of suicide in young males was observed. This was particularly marked in the years before 1980 and in countries outside Europe. The WHO database is the largest of its kind and, indeed, the only information source that can currently be used for analysis of global mortality due to suicide. Methodological limitations are discussed.