Statistics Canada (StatsCan) has released data on 2009 suicide rates in Canada. In that year, there were 3,890 suicides in Canada. The rate for men (17.9 per cent per 100,000 people) was three times higher than that for women (5.3 per cent per 100,000 people). Among all age groups, rates were highest for individuals aged 40 to 59 years; married people had lower suicide rates than those who are single, divorced or widowed.
Suicide rates among men and women in Canada remained stable in the 1950s, but rose between the 1960s and 80s, peaking in 1983 at 15.1 deaths per 100,000 people. Although suicide rates for men have been steadily decreasing since 1999, women’s rates appear stabilized.
StatsCan indicates that deaths by suicide reflect only a small percentage of actual attempts and that while mental health issues or conditions are the most important risk factors for suicide, no single determinant – including mental illness – causes suicide. Suicide generally results from multiple factors including mental health conditions, marital or financial challenges, poor health, major loss or lack of social support.
To read “Suicide Rates: An Overview,” Statistics Canada, July 2012, visit the StatsCan website at www.statcan.gc.ca.