By the Canadian Press, in Globe and Mail, September 12, 2011
The Medical Society of P.E.I. is calling on the province to launch a comprehensive study of suicides, leading to the development of a prevention strategy.
A resolution calling for the study was passed at the society's annual general meeting Saturday.
Dr. Charles Trainor, the Island's chief coroner, says suicide was the leading cause of non-natural death in the province in 2009, 2010 and so far in 2011.
There were 16 suicides in 2009 followed by 18 in 2010.
Based on autopsy figures, there have been 10 so far this year.
The society says that statistical information on suicides is lacking.
From the Canaadian Mental Health Association website:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), someone around the globe commits suicide every 40 seconds. In the year 2000, 815,000 people lost their lives to suicide — more than double the number of people who die as a direct result of armed conflict every year (306,600). For people between the ages of 15 and 44, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death and the sixth leading cause of disability and infirmity worldwide.1
Canada and Ontario
The suicide rate for Canadians, as measured by the WHO, is 15 per 100,000 people. Yet, according to numerous studies, rates are even higher among specific groups. For example, the suicide rate for Inuit peoples living in Northern Canada is between 60 and 75 per 100,000 people, significantly higher than the general population.2 Other populations at an increased risk of suicide include youth, the elderly, inmates in correctional facilities, people with a mental illness, and those who have previously attempted suicide.3 According to Statistics Canada, between 1997 and 1999, there was a 10 percent increase in suicides across Canada, from 3,681 to 4,074. In Ontario alone, suicides rose from 930 in 1997 to 1,032 in 2001.
Men commit suicide at a rate four times higher than that of women. According to a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), more men in Ontario committed suicide in the past 10 years than died in car crashes.4 Approximately 591 men committed suicide in Ontario between 1990 and 2000, while 558 men died in car crashes. Women, however, make 3 to 4 times more suicide attempts than men do,5 and women are hospitalized in general hospitals for attempted suicide at 1.5 times the rate of men.6 Studies indicate that there is a significant correlation between a history of sexual abuse and the lifetime number of suicide attempts, and this correlation is twice as strong for women as for men.
In Canada, suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16 percent among 16-44 year olds. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24.8 Seventy-three percent of hospital admissions for attempted suicide are for people between the ages of 15 and 44.
From Science Daily website, April 21, 2011
The new research paper titled "Dark Contrasts: The Paradox of High Rates of Suicide in Happy Places" has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. It uses U.S. and international data, which included first-time comparisons of a newly available random sample of 1.3 million Americans, and another on suicide decisions among an independent random sample of approximately 1 million Americans.
The research confirmed a little known and seemingly puzzling fact: many happy countries have unusually high rates of suicide. This observation has been made from time to time about individual nations, especially in the case of Denmark. This new research found that a range of nations -- including: Canada, the United States, Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland, display relatively high happiness levels and yet also have high suicide rates. Nevertheless the researchers note that, because of variation in cultures and suicide-reporting conventions, such cross-country scatter plots are only suggestive. To confirm the relationship between levels of happiness and rates of suicide within a geographical area, the researchers turned to two very large data sets covering a single country, the United States....
States with people who are generally more satisfied with their lives tended to have higher suicide rates than those with lower average levels of life satisfaction. For example, the raw data showed that Utah is ranked first in life-satisfaction, but has the 9th highest suicide rate. Meanwhile, New York was ranked 45th in life satisfaction, yet had the lowest suicide rate in the country.
The researchers (Professor Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick, Associate Professor of Economics Stephen Wu of Hamilton College and Mary C. Daly and Daniel Wilson both from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco) believe the key explanation that may explain this counterintuitive link between happiness and suicide rates draws on ideas about the way that human beings rely on relative comparisons between each other.
University of Warwick researcher Professor Andrew Oswald said: "Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life. Those dark contrasts may in turn increase the risk of suicide. If humans are subject to mood swings, the lows of life may thus be most tolerable in an environment in which other humans are unhappy."
Professor Stephen Wu of Hamilton College said: "This result is consistent with other research that shows that people judge their well-being in comparison to others around them. These types of comparison effects have also been shown with regards to income, unemployment, crime, and obesity."
University of Warwick. "Happiest places have highest suicide rates, new research finds." ScienceDaily, 21 Apr. 2011. Web. 13 Sep. 2011.
By Holly Ramer, Associated Press, from Boston Globe, September 12, 2011
Faced with a rising suicide rate, New Hampshire is working with public, private and community partners on a range of initiatives targeting gun shop customers, members of the military and in some cases, individual towns.
There were 206 suicides in the state last year, up from 159 in 2009. So far this year, 142 people have died by suicide, putting the state on track to top last year's total, Dr. Thomas Andrew said at a news conference Monday organized by the New Hampshire Suicide Prevention Council.
Those figures put New Hampshire in about the middle when compared to other states, said Andrew, the state's chief medical examiner, though the latest national data runs only through 2007. While firearms are involved in most suicides, the percentage involving drug overdoses has been rising steadily over the past few years, he said.
In Canada, The McGill Group for Suicide Studies (MGSS) is interested in the investigation of risk factors associated with suicidal behaviour and related conditions - such as major depressive disorder – using a range of different approaches and methodologies.
This multidisciplinary team is unique in Canada and is one of the only programs of its kind in the world.
The primary objective of the MGSS is to understand what makes people at risk for suicide. To do so, it uses different research strategies based on the investigation of brain tissue, the genome, clinical factors and the social environment.
One of the key questions investigated by the MGSS is what happens, at the molecular and cellular level, in the brains of individuals before they die by suicide.
Another important question investigated by the MGSS is how environmental adversity and experiences of abuse can impact brain biology and increase suicide risk
Similarly important are questions related to the role of clinical and personality factors, development, access to services and treatment.
Do you need help? Are you, or is someone you know, experiencing a suicidal crisis? Are you mourning, due to someone's suicide?
Consult the resources
McGill Group for Suicide Studies
Frank B. Common Pavilion, F-2101
6875 LaSalle Boulevard
Montreal, Quebec H4H 1R3
Tel. : 514-761-6131, ext. 3368
Fax : 514-762-3023