Updated information concerning trends in suicide rates in elderly in China, 2002-2020

Glob Health Med. 2024 Jun 30;6(3):204-211. doi: 10.35772/ghm.2024.01003.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate trends in suicide rates (SRs) among the elderly in China. Annual data on SRs among Chinese people ≥ the age of 65 were collected from China's Health Statistics Yearbook from 2002 to 2020. Then, data were stratified by age, region, and sex. Standardized SRs were calculated and analyzed using a conventional joinpoint regression model. Results revealed that overall, SRs among the elderly in China tended to decline from 2002-2020. Fluctuations in SRs, including in 2004-2005 due to the SARS epidemic, in 2009-2010 due to the economic crisis, and in 2019-2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were also observed. Data suggested a relatively greater crude SR among the elderly (vs. young people), in males (vs. females), and in people living in a rural area (vs. those living in an urban area). SRs tended to rise with age. Joinpoint regression analysis identified joinpoints only for males ages 65-69 and over the age of 85 living in a rural area, suggesting that individuals in these groups are more sensitive to negative stimuli and more likely to commit suicide, necessitating closer attention. The findings from this study should help to make policy and devise measures against suicide in the future.

Keywords: elderly; joinpoint; joinpoint regression model; suicide; suicide rates.