Socio-economic inequalities in suicide in Europe: the widening gap

Vincent Lorant, Rianne de Gelder, Dharmi Kapadia, Carme Borrell, Ramune Kalediene, Katalin Kovacs, Mall Leinsalu, Pekka Martikainen, Gwenn Menvielle, Enrique Regidor, Maica Rodriguez-Sanz, Bogdan Wojtyniak, Bjorn Strand, Matthias Bopp, Johan P. Mackenbach

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Background Suicide has been decreasing over the past decade. However, we do not know whether socioeconomic inequality in suicide has been decreasing as well. Aims We assessed recent trends in socioeconomic inequalities in suicide in 15 European populations. Method The DEMETRIQ study collected and harmonised register-based data on suicide mortality follow-up of population censuses, from 1991 and 2001, in European populations aged 35-79. Absolute and relative inequalities of suicide according to education were computed on more than 300 million person-years. Results In the 1990s, people in the lowest educational group had 1.82 times more suicides than those in the highest group. In the 2000s, this ratio increased to 2.12. Among men, absolute and relative inequalities were substantial in both periods and generally did not decrease over time, whereas among women inequalities were absent in the first period and emerged in the second. Conclusions The World Health Organization (WHO) plan for 'Fair opportunity of mental wellbeing' is not likely to be met.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-361
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
Early online date22 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

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  • Cathie Marsh Institute


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