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Attempted suicide rates and trends during a period of severe economic recession in Helsinki, 1989-1997.

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National Public Health Institute, Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research, Helsinki, Finland.



This study investigated attempted suicide trends during a deep economic recession in the 1990s in a well-defined urban catchment area.


The data covered every suicide attempt treated in health care during sample periods in 1989-1997 in Helsinki, Finland. Annual rates were estimated, 3-year moving averages for trends calculated, and significances tested.


The overall attempted suicide rate remained stable over the 9-year study period. Against expectations, male rates decreased significantly (P < 0.01), especially among those aged 15-34. There was a convergence of female and male rates, although male rates remained higher. The proportion of poisonings as method increased (P < 0.01).


Despite the deep economic recession, with rapidly rising unemployment attempted suicide rates remained unexpectedly stable. The total attempted suicide rate did not increase as might have been anticipated, and the male rate even decreased.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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