Introduction

Suicide as a significant and growing public health concern: coalescing and building our understanding through interdisciplinary and international scholarship

Authored by: John R. Cutcliffe

Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415530125
eBook ISBN: 9780203795583
Adobe ISBN: 9781134459292

10.4324/9780203795583.ch1

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Abstract

Data collected from a variety of international sources show that suicide continues to be one of the most imposing contemporary public health issues facing many nations of the world today (AGDHA, 2000; Associate Minister of Health, 2006; White, 2003; World Health Organization, 2002). Despite our best efforts, the global rate of suicide has continued to rise since the 1950s. Suicide is expensive in terms of the human cost and associated suffering (Shneidman, 1997, 2004), the economic costs (Institute of Medicine, 2002), the social costs (CASP, 2004; Maris, 1997) and the spiritual costs (Jobes et al., 2000). The international epidemiological picture is equivocal with some countries showing a recent downward trend in suicide rates, such as in the United Kingdom (Department of Health, 2005), Australia (AGDHA, 2000), New Zealand (Associate Minister of Health, 2006) Hungary, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium and others. Inversely, other countries show alarming upwards trends, such as Ireland, China and former Soviet Bloc countries, such as Lithuania, Russian Federation and the Ukraine.

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