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World Suicide Prevention Day 2011

Thursday, September 08, 2011, Special release
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In 2010, 416 people in Slovenia committed suicide, i.e. 30% less than in 2000. However, this is still more than one suicide every day.

Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STAIn 2003 the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) proclaimed 10 September World Suicide Prevention Day in order to raise awareness that suicide can be prevented. The theme of this year's day is Preventing Suicide in Multicultural Societies. Cultural diversity of a society is not a negligible factor in preventing suicide; however, it must not obscure other important factors pointed out this year such as unemployment, poverty, oppression, marginalisation, stigmatisation and racism.

In 2010 on average every 21 hours a person in Slovenia committed suicide

In 2010, 416 people in Slovenia died by suicide, i.e. almost 30% less than in 2000. Among all the people who died last year, every 44th died by suicide, which on average happened every 21 hours. Four fifths of suicides were committed by men and a fifth by women.

The suicide rate is growing with age both in men and in women. Last year it was the highest for both sexes at age 50-59, after which it started to decline. The suicide rate (number of suicides per 100,000 population) was 20.3, which is the second lowest value since 1953.

In the 1950-2010 period, 30,537 people in Slovenia died by suicide, which means that in the past 60 years on average a suicide was committed every 17 hours. The suicide rate in Slovenia was growing in the second half of the 20th century and reached its peak in the late 1970s and 1980s. The incidence was the highest in 1989 when the suicide rate was 33.8 per 100,000 population. This means that on average in 1989 every 3,000th person in Slovenia committed suicide. In the 1990s the suicide rate started to decline, so that in the past three years it was close to 20. In 2010 on average every 5,000th person in Slovenia committed suicide.

Chart 1: Number of suicides per 100,000 population, 1950-2010, Slovenia


The most common suicide methods

In 2010 the most common suicide method in Slovenia was intentional self-harm by hanging, strangulation or suffocation. This method was chosen by 63.7% of people committing suicide; by 226 (67.3%) men and by 39 (48.8%) women who committed suicide. For men the second most common suicide method was intentional self-harm by unspecified and other firearm discharge (11.9%), while for women it was intentional self-harm by jumping from height (12.5%). For men the third most common suicide method was intentional self-harm by a sharp object (3.3%) and for women intentional self-harm by drowning or submersion (11.3%).

In 2010, suicide the leading cause of death for people aged 15-19

Suicide does not depend on age. In 2010 it was recorded in all five-year age groups except two: children under 10 years of age and people aged 95 or more.

In 2010, suicide was the leading cause of death for young people aged 15-19; 10 out of the 27 people of this age group who died in 2010 (37.3%) committed suicide.

Suicide was the second most common cause of death in age groups 10-14, 20-24 and 25-29. In age groups 30-34, 35-39 and 40-44 it was the third most common cause of death, while in other age group it was lower on the list of leading causes of death.

Table 1: Deaths and deaths by suicide by age, Slovenia, 2010


Source: Institute of Public Health, Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia.

Large regional differences in suicide rates

In 2010, regional differences in suicide rates were again quite large. The rate was the highest in the Spodnjeposavska statistical region (28.5 per 100,000 population) and in the Savinjska statistical region (27.3), and the lowest in the Notranjsko-kraška statistical region (7.7).

Regional differences by gender were also quite large. Last year the suicide rate for men was the highest in Spodnjeposavska (51.1) and Savinjska (44.7) statistical regions. Both regions were high above the national average for men (33.1). The lowest value for men was recorded in the Notranjsko-kraška statistical region (11.4).

For women the situation was a bit different. The highest rate for women was almost the same as the lowest rate for men. The spatial distribution was completely different as the highest rates were recorded in Obalno-kraška (12.6) and Gorenjska (10.7) statistical regions, and the lowest in the Pomurska statistical region (1.6).

In terms of the suicide rate, Slovenia is 4th among EU-27 Member States

According to the latest available Eurostat data (for 2009), in the EU-27 the standardised suicide rate was 10.3 per 100,000 population. In the 2000-2009 period the suicide rate in Slovenia decreased by 30%; however, with the value of 18.7 per 100,000 population Slovenia was still 4th in the EU.

In the EU-27, the suicide rate is decreasing from north towards south. In 2009 the suicide rate was the highest in Lithuania (31.5), Hungary (21.8) and Latvia (20.7), and the lowest in Greece (3.0) and Cyprus (3.6).

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