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Relationship of suicide rates to social factors and availability of lethal methods: Comparison of suicide in Newcastle upon Tyne 1961-1965 and 1985-1994

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kurt Schapira, Dr Thomas Kelly


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Background: The UK Government's White Paper Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation included among its targets a reduction in suicide. Aims: To study causes of change in suicide rate over a 30-year period in Newcastle upon Tyne. Method: Suicide rates and methods, based on coroners' inquest records, were compared over two periods (1961-1965 and 1985-1994) and differences were related to changes in exposure to poisons and prescribed drugs, and to socio-demographic changes. Results: Demographic and social changes had taken place which would adversely affect suicide rates. However, a dramatic fall was found in the rate for women, and a modest decline in that for men. Reduced exposure to carbon monoxide and to barbiturates coincided with the fall in rates. Conclusions: Reduced exposure to lethal methods was responsible for the fall in rate in both genders, while the gender difference in favour of women may be related to their preference for non-violent methods or to their being less affected by the social changes. Declaration of interest: None.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Schapira K, Linsley KR, Linsley JA, Kelly TP, Kay DWK

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Psychiatry

Year: 2001

Volume: 178

Pages: 458-464

Print publication date: 01/01/2001

ISSN (print): 0007-1250

ISSN (electronic): 1472-1465

Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists


DOI: 10.1192/bjp.178.5.458

PubMed id: 11331563


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