Suicide in Canada: an epidemiological assessment

Can J Public Health. 1990 Jul-Aug;81(4):324-8.


Suicide rates in Canada rapidly increased during the 1960s and 1970s. More recent analysis of these trends indicates that in males suicide rates have stabilized and in females a notable decrease has been identified. The greatest changes in suicide rates have occurred among the youngest age groups (15 to 19), while little change has occurred in suicide mortality rates for males aged 50 years and over. The age-specific death rates in 1986 are uniformly distributed in males above age 20, while in females an inverted "U" curve is demonstrated with the peak at age 45-50. Males continue to have higher rates and the difference between males and females is expanding. A birth cohort analysis indicates that the contribution of the birth cohort to explaining suicide rates has diminished and been replaced by a more recent period effect. Suicide remains the second most important cause of death of persons between 15 and 34 years of age. Provincial variation is discussed through geographic variation, cause-specific rankings and potential years of life lost. In contrast to national trends, suicide mortality in Alberta, Quebec and New Brunswick continues to increase. An atlas is provided to display Canadian census divisions that exhibit elevated rates of suicide.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Ratio
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors