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Suicide in Switzerland: A detailed national survey of the years 2000 to 2010

English title Suicide in Switzerland: A detailed national survey of the years 2000 to 2010
Applicant Reisch Thomas
Number 133070
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Universitätsklinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Mental Disorders, Psychosomatic Diseases
Start/End 01.12.2010 - 31.05.2014
Approved amount 190'921.00
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Keywords (12)

suicide; suicide prevention; epidemiology; restrictions of means; suicide method; national survey; Switzerland; public health; firearm; military gun; bridge; assisted suicide

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Goal of the Study: The goal of the planned study is to collect detailed suicide data from the Swiss institutes of legal medicine covering the years 2000 to 2010 and to get a profound insight in suicide methods used in Switzerland. Method: A pilot study of detailed Swiss suicide data of 2004 demonstrated that these data can be collected retrospectively showing the feasibility of a country wide survey. Thus, all available data on suicide will be retrospectively collected in all Swiss institutes for forensic medicine and complemented by data of police offices. On the basis of the pilot study data about 5000 suicides can be expected. BackgroundSuicide has a strong impact on live expectancy of the general public and is therefore a major public health problem. Any year about 1300 persons commit suicide in Switzerland. Restricting suicide means has shown to be an effective measure in suicide prevention. The Swiss Federal Statistic Office (FSO) only registers suicide according to the ICD-10-X codes which do not allow in depth analyses: the category for suicide by firearms does not allow differentiating between army weapons and private guns. No distinction is made in fall from height between jumps from bridges and jumps from buildings. Suicide by psychotropic drugs (X61) does not make a difference between antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, barbiturates, and hypnotics. Methods:This project is a cooperation of three university institutes of Bale, Berne and Zurich. The cooperation of several other forensic institutes (Lausanne, Geneva, Chur, St. Gallen, and Locarno) was guaranteed Several data will be merged in this study: 1. Forensic institutes. We will include data of persons who committed suicide in Switzerland between 2000 and 2010. We will retrospectively collect data of all Swiss institutes for forensic medicines or institutes practicing forensic medicine. 2. Police reports. Police records refer e.g. to information regarding the weapon used or the drugs found at the place of death. 3. Medication consumption. Suicides by drugs have to be related to the total consumption of drugs by the general population. 4. (Federal statistical Office (FSO) data. To assess for any systematic bias, the collected data have to be compared with the FSO data that are available for free by the FSO. Implications: The results of this study will have important implication on suicide prevention activities both for governmental and non-governmental organisations. The study will also help to optimize and standardize the documentation of suicide by the institutes for legal medicine and the FSO.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Change in Suicide Rates in Switzerland Before and After Firearm Restriction Resulting From the 2003 "Army XXI" Reform
Reisch T Steffen T Habenstein A Tschacher W (2013), Change in Suicide Rates in Switzerland Before and After Firearm Restriction Resulting From the 2003 "Army XXI" Reform, in American Journal of Psychiatry, 170, 977-984.
Self-burning - A rare suicide method in Switzerland and other industrialised nations – A review
Gauthier S Reisch T Bartsch C, Self-burning - A rare suicide method in Switzerland and other industrialised nations – A review, in Burns, 2014.02.00.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Jahrestagung der deutschen Gesellschaft für Rechtsmedizin Poster Suizid durch Selbstverbrennung – eine Falldarstellung 17.09.2013 Saarbrücken, Germany Bartsch Christine; Reisch Thomas;
Sommertagung der schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Rechtsmedizin, Zermatt Talk given at a conference Suizide in Haft und Polizeigewahrsam in der Schweiz (2000-2010) 14.06.2013 Zermatt, Switzerland Reisch Thomas; Bartsch Christine;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Jahrestagung der deutschen Gesellschaft für Rechtsmedizin 17.09.2013 Saarbrücken, Germany Bartsch Christine; Reisch Thomas;


Abstract

Suicide has a detrimental impact on the life expectancy of the general public and is therefore a major public health problem. In any year, about 1300 people commit suicide in Switzerland, which has the fourth highest suicide rate in Western Europe (WHO). According to the Swiss Observatory for Health (OBSAN), ten percent of all years of live lost year (YLL) fell in the category suicide. Restricting access to the methods and means of suicide has shown to be an effective measure in suicide prevention. However, suicide prevention is linked to the specific situations of the country, and suicide prevention has to be related to country-specific suicide data. The Swiss Federal Statistic Office (FSO) only registers suicide according to the ICD-10-X codes, which do not allow in depth analyses: The category for suicide by firearms does not allow differentiating between army weapons and private guns. No distinction is made in the fall from heights between jumps from bridges and jumps from buildings. Suicide by psychotropic drugs (X61) does not differentiate between antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, barbiturates, and hypnotics, although most of the medication related to suicides fell in this category. The goal of the planned study is to collect detailed suicide data from the Swiss institutes of legal medicine covering the years 2000 to 2010 in order to get a profound insight into the most prevalent suicide methods used in Switzerland. The method will be a based on a pilot study of detailed Swiss suicide data from 2004 that demonstrated that these data could be collected retrospectively, which verified the feasibility of a country-wide survey. Thus, all available data on suicide will be retrospectively collected in all Swiss institutes for forensic medicine and complemented by data of police offices. On the basis of the pilot study data, about 5000 suicides can be expected. The results of this study will have important implications for suicide prevention activities, both for governmental and non-governmental organisations:. It will lead to a better knowledge as to where suicidal persons jump, which drugs or which weapon they use, which dangerous places have to be secured, whether GPs and other medical specialists should be sensitized for dangerous drugs. The study will also help to optimize and standardize the documentation of suicide by the institutes for legal medicine and the FSO.This project is a cooperation of three university institutes of Bale, Berne, and Zurich. The cooperation of several other forensic institutes (Lausanne, Geneva, Chur, St. Gallen, and Locarno) was guaranteed, therefore allowing a representative national survey. The applicants are part of important national and international networks such as IPSILON (Swiss Initiative for Suicide Prevention), EAAD (European Alliance against Depression), or the WHO-MONSUE Multicentre-Study.
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