THURSDAY, Feb. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Since 1990, the age-standardized mortality rate for suicide has decreased worldwide, according to a study published online Feb. 6 in The BMJ.

Mohsen Naghavi, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues present patterns of suicide mortality globally, regionally, and for 195 countries and territories by age, sex, and sociodemographic index using estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The authors also describe temporal trends between 1990 and 2016.

The researchers found that during the study period, there was a 6.7 percent increase in the total number of deaths from suicide, reaching 817,000 deaths in 2016. Between 1990 and 2016, there was a 32.7 percent decrease in the age-standardized mortality rate for suicide, similar to the 30.6 percent decline in the global age-standardized mortality rate. In the high-income Asia Pacific region, suicide was the leading cause of age-standardized years of life lost. Across regions, countries, and age groups, suicide rates were higher for men than women, apart from the 15- to 19-year-old age group. Variation in the female-to-male ratio was seen, with higher ratios at lower levels of the sociodemographic index. Greater decreases in mortality rates were seen for women compared with men (40.9 versus 23.8 percent).

“Research must continue to build the evidence base for effective interventions that are sensitive to regional and national contexts to address this continuing public health concern,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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