This article, the first of two, updates previous analyses of suicides published in Population Trends. Suicide trends in England and Wales are analysed by age and sex. Analyses by method and occupation suggest a link between suicide rates and easy access to effective means of committing suicide. The steadily growing number of cars with catalytic converters may go some way to explain the decreasing suicide rates from 'other gas poisoning' for both men and women since the early 1990s. Indeed, it may also explain to some extent the decline in overall suicide rates for men since this time.