As the largest continent in the World, Asia accounts for about 60% of World suicides. Preventing suicide by restricting access to suicide methods is one of the few evidence-based suicide prevention strategies. However, there has been a lack of systematic exploration of suicide methods in Asian countries. To amend this shortage, the current review examines the leading suicide methods in different Asian countries, their trend, their age- and sex- specific characteristics, and their implications for suicide prevention. In total, 42 articles with leading suicide methods data in 17 Asian countries/regions were retrieved. The epidemiologic characteristics and recent trends of common suicide methods reflect specific socio-cultural, economic, and religious situations in the region. Common suicide methods shift with the introduction of technologies and constructions, and have specific age- or sex-characteristics that may render the restriction of suicide methods not equally effective for all sex and age sub-groups. Charcoal burning, pesticide poisoning, native plant poisoning, self-immolation, and jumping are all prominent examples. In the information society, suicide prevention that focuses on suicide methods must monitor and control the innovation and spread of knowledge and practices of suicide "technologies". It may be more cost-effective to design safety into technologies as a way of suicide prevention while there is no rash of suicides yet by the new technologies. Further research on suicide methods is important for public health approaches to suicide prevention with sensitivity to socio-cultural, economic, and religious factors in different countries.
Keywords: Asia; age; culture; economic; information; media; public health; religion; sex; suicide; suicide method; technology; trend.