Swiss suicide prevention needs to be reassessed according to study

Published: Wednesday, Feb 7th 2024, 16:00

Updated At: Wednesday, Feb 7th 2024, 16:00

Back to Live Feed

Women in Switzerland are increasingly taking their own lives at a younger age. This is shown by a study by researchers at the University of Zurich (UZH) over a period of ten years, which was published in the specialist journal "Forensic Medicine".

"Suicide prevention strategies need to be re-evaluated to take into account the worrying trend of decreasing age at female suicide," the researchers wrote in the study. Suicide prevention remains a major societal challenge and a dedicated analysis of suicides is crucial to improve prevention strategies.

For their study, the researchers searched the archives of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich for autopsy reports of all suicides between 2012 and 2021. They excluded assisted suicides. Of the 1174 cases included in the study, 72% were men and 28% women.

Changing gender roles

The average age at suicide over the ten years was 53 for men and 52 for women. In the case of women, however, the researchers observed a trend towards a decreasing age at suicide over these ten years.

In the study, the researchers hypothesize that this trend could be linked to changing gender roles and perceptions among young women. "Ultimately, however, we do not yet have a comprehensive explanation for this development, which requires further research in order to effectively counteract it," the authors emphasized in the study.

Men are more likely to choose harsh suicide methods

The researchers also found a difference in the method of suicide between men and women. Significantly more men than women used a firearm. 21.2 percent of men chose this suicide method, compared to 3.6 percent of women. Likewise, more men (24.4 percent) than women (16.4 percent) hanged themselves.

Women, on the other hand, were more likely to poison themselves. 21.6 percent of all women included in the study killed themselves with poison, compared to 9.0 percent of men. Younger women were more likely to resort to harsher suicide methods, such as hanging themselves or throwing themselves under a train, than middle-aged or older women.

High suicide rate in Switzerland

In the study, the researchers recommend restricting access to suicide methods in order to strengthen suicide prevention efforts. In particular, they recommend stricter regulations on access to firearms.

Switzerland has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, as the authors emphasized in the study. According to the Swiss Health Observatory (Obsan), around 1,000 people died by suicide in 2020. The highest suicide rate was reached in the early 1980s and then fell towards the end of the millennium


Related Stories

Stay in Touch


the swiss times
A production of UltraSwiss AG, 6340 Baar, Switzerland
Copyright © 2024 UltraSwiss AG 2024 All rights reserved