Between 1974 and 1992 male suicide increased in the United Kingdom and in most countries of the Western World. At the same time there were substantial reductions in female suicide in many countries. However, these results mask significant changes related to age in both genders. In most countries there was a disproportionate rise in younger male suicides (< 35 years); with two disproportionate peaks in younger (25-34 years) and elderly (75 + years) female suicides. The implications of these changes are briefly discussed within the context of changing socio-economic expectations.