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revised April 04, 2011
State of the Region's Health Report: Focus on Suicide

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Suicide is an important cause of morbidity and mortality, and one of the leading causes of mortality and hospitalization in Canada, Ontario and the Region of Peel.Many suicide deaths occur early in life and therefore have a tremendous impact on potential years of life lost. The risk of completed suicide is higher among those who have suicidal thoughts. Between 10 to 13 per cent of individuals who attempt suicide eventually take their own lives.

There are many risk factors that influence whether a person will attempt or commit suicide. A history of mental illness, and in particular depression, is strongly associated with suicidal behaviour.

In Canada, approximately 4% of the population have had suicidal thoughts in the past 12 months. People in younger age groups (15-24 years) were more likely to report this than older age groups. Hospitalizations for suicide attempts in Canada have been declining since 1995. In 1998, suicide deaths accounted for approximately 2% of all deaths in Canada. On average, 10 people per day commit suicide in Canada. Four times as many males commit suicide as do females.

In 2000/2001, in the Region of Peel, 6.2% of residents reported having suicidal thoughts sometime in their life. Almost 2% of residents reported having suicidal thoughts in the past 12 months. On average, there are 784 hospitalizations for suicide attempts per year which is equivalent to two per day in the Region of Peel. Hospitalizations for suicide attempts are highest in the 20-49 year age group and are also higher for females compared to males. The majority of people attempting suicide used poisoning as their method (90%). The Region of Peel has lower rates of hospitalization due to suicide attempts than Ontario.

The Region of Peel has an average of 56 suicide deaths per year which is equivalent to one suicide death per week. Suicide mortality rates are twice as high in males as they are in females. Rates of mortality due to suicide are lower in the Region of Peel compared to Ontario. In the Region of Peel, most suicide deaths are the result of poisoning, followed by hanging, strangulation and suffocation; and firearms and explosives. A much higher proportion of males tend to choose violent methods such as hanging, strangulation and suffocation; and firearms and explosives compared to females, who tend to choose poisoning when committing suicide.

Chapter 5 - Summary (PDF, 29KB)



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Revised: April 04, 2011

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