Suicide, suicide ideations, and psychiatric disorder rates tend to increase after natural disasters such as earthquake. In 2016 Ecuador experienced a 7.8Mw earthquake and, more recently, the Covid-19 confinement. Both events may have negatively affected the mental health of the Ecuadorian population. Therefore, the present study aimed to evaluate the suicide rates and choice of suicide method in the Ecuadorian population between January 2011 and December 2020. The dataset used is publicly available on the Ecuadorian National Institute of Statistics and Censuses. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (OR) for potential sociodemographic factors associated with each suicide method compared to other reported suicide methods. There were 10,380 registered cases of suicide in Ecuador between 2011 and 2020. Significant suicide rates per provinces were seen in Napo with 12.63 and Azuay with 12.52, followed by Bolívar with 12.30, and Orellana with 11.36 suicides/100,000 habitants. Hanging accounted for 7082 cases (68.2 %). The mestizos (82 %) were the most prevalent ethnicity of all suicide cases. School-age children with 6-12 years (OR 8.83, 95 % CI 5.34-14.59) and adolescents with 13-19 years (OR 1.46, 95 % CI 1.29-1.66) were more likely to use hanging as method of suicide. In conclusion, we observed an increase of suicide rates from 8.15 per 100,000 in 2011 to 8.81 in 2020. The confinement of COVID-19 pandemic in the period evaluated did not significantly affect the suicide rates. An increased suicide rate was observed in the province hardest hit by the 2016 earthquake.
Keywords: COVID-19; Earthquake; Ecuador; Hanging; Suicide.
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