An observational study on suicide trends among young people in the United Kingdom suggests that suicide rates among young men in England and Wales have dropped markedly over the past decade.
In the study, published by BMJ, Lucy Biddle, research fellow and her associates at the University of Bristol (England), compared suicide deaths, population statistics, divorce rates, and other data in men and women aged 15-24 and 25-34, between 1968 and 2005 (BMJ 2008 Feb. 15[doi:10.1136/bmj.39475.603935.25]).
Among men aged 15-24, the suicide rate dropped from a peak of 16.6 per 100,000 people in 1990 to 8.5 per 100,000 in 2005. Among men aged 25-34, the suicide rate dropped from a peak of 27.8 per 100,000 in 1998 to 15.7 per 100,000 in 2005.
In addition, Ms. Biddle and her associates found that for both age groups, the reductions were apparent "for all common methods of suicide, including hanging, suggesting a more pervasive change than that attributable to the changing avail-ability of particular methods," the authors reported.
Suicide rates during the 1990s among men aged 15-24 were at an all-time high, accounting for about one-fifth of all deaths in young men, after a more than doubling in the rate from the early 1970s to the 1990s, they noted. …