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Suicide rates declining in most UNECE countries

In most UNECE member countries, the suicide rate has fallen since the millennium, with larger decreases occurring in countries that had higher rates. This is illustrated by the chart below, which depicts suicide rates from 2000 to 2008, for selected countries. Kazakhstan, with a high suicide rate, has seen a large decrease in its rate. However Italy, which has a lower suicide rate, has seen only a small decrease. 

The large gender difference has persisted, with suicide rates for men higher than those for women, although the male-female ratio varies between countries and time periods, as can be seen by comparing Kazakhstan with Slovenia in the year 2000.

There are, however, a number of exceptions to the decreasing trend in the suicide rate. For example, whereas Ireland saw a decrease for males, the rate for females remained unchanged. In Norway, an increased female suicide rate accompanied a decrease for males. The United States and Portugal saw increases for both males and females--although in the United States these were slight--and from a relatively low level in 2000 in the case of Portugal.

Source: UNECE Statistical Database, compiled from national and international (WHO European health for all and EUROSTAT database) official sources. The suicide rate is a standardized rate of death by suicide, which is a weighted average of age-specific suicide mortality rates using as weighting factor the age distribution of a standard reference population.