Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Suicide rate down in 2016, but higher incidence among males - PIOJ

Published:Friday | June 16, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Professor Fredrick Hickling

Notwithstanding reports in the latest Economic and Social Survey produced by the Planning Institute of Jamaica that 55 Jamaicans committed suicide in 2016, Professor Fredrick Hickling, a leading psychiatrist, says that the country has one of the lowest incidents of suicide per 100,000 in the world.

World Health Organization data for 2014 support that assertion, indicating that 1.22 per 100,000 Jamaicans commit suicide.

Another Caribbean country, Guyana, was the number-one country in the world when it comes to its suicide rate. It showed that 43.22 per 100,000 Guyanese killed themselves.

The Economic and Social Survey states that the reported cases of suicide in Jamaica declined from 59 in 2015 to 55 last year.

It is reported that males continued to account for the majority of the cases at 90.9 per cent.

Hickling said that the higher rate of suicide among males was related to the way in which men were treated in this country.

"I think it has a lot to do with how males are socialised ... we kind of leave them on their own without a male figure in the home," he said.




Most of those who killed themselves in 2016 were in the 30-34 and 20-29 age groups, accounting for 11 cases each. This was followed by persons over 70 years, with seven cases; and 60-69 with six cases; while all other groups had five cases each.

Responding to concerns that more young people, particularly men, are taking their own lives, Hickling said: "During this time, the men are responding to the complex trauma and the social pressures that they are under - they can't find work, they are economically destitute. All of those factors are what causes those few who do kill themselves to do so in that age range."

The data indicate that 63.6 per cent of those who ended their own lives chose the method of hanging. There were three cases for which the cause of suicide was domestic dispute.

The parish of St Catherine led with eight cases, followed by St Andrew with seven, St Elizabeth with six; and St James, Clarendon, and St Ann with five each.