In Canada, suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among those age 15-24 and 16% those age 16-44.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24.
73% of hospital admissions for attempted suicide are for people between the ages of 15 and 44.
Men commit suicide at a rate 4x higher than that of women. Women, however, make 3-4x more suicide attempts than men do and women are hospitalized in general hospitals for attempted suicide at 1.5x the rate of men.
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.
Late July and August have the highest suicide rate out of all the months of the year. Some studies suggest that the increase is due to seasonal change and that this period is one that often brings about changes in personal situations. It is suggested that all these elements of change – whether dramatic changes are happening in someone’s life, or if they feel defeated because their situation seems never to change – can lead people to suicide.
Approximately 25% of people who complete suicide will have been in contact with a mental health agency in the year before their death. Specific mental disorders that have been linked to suicide include depression, substance abuse, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. Substance abuse and personality disorders are more common among men, and depression is more common among women.
High suicide risk is particularly associated with acute episodes of illness, recent hospital discharge (almost 50% commit suicide before their first follow-up appointment), or recent contact with a mental health service.
People with mood disorders are at a particularly high risk of suicide. Studies indicate that more than 90% of suicide victims have a diagnosable psychiatric illness, and suicide is the most common cause of death for people with schizophrenia.
Both major depression and bipolar disorder account for 15-25% of all deaths by suicide in patients with severe mood disorders.
Worldwide, many of those (65-95%) who complete suicide have a mental disorder. Indeed, the risk of suicide is up to 15x higher among people who have a mental disorder compared to those who do not. Although mental disorders are considered a risk factor in Asian countries as well, there is evidence that they are not as frequent in suicidal behaviours, but that impulsiveness plays a greater role.
Co-occurring conditions are particularly common among those who complete suicide. For example, depression combined with alcohol abuse occurs in about two-thirds of those who complete suicide.
Therefore, the presence of a mental and/or substance use disorder is one of the strongest predictors of suicide, making the identification and treatment of psychiatric and substance use disorders an important prevention strategy.