Methods of suicide and suicide rates in England and Wales have fluctuated considerably since the 1960s.
To review the changes that have occurred in suicide rates in England and Wales between 1960 and 1997.
Suicide rates, derived from total annual suicides and the estimated annual resident population, were obtained from the Office for National Statistics.
Suicide rates decreased in both genders between the early 1960s and the mid-1970s. The rate for males then increased between 1975 and 1990, while the rate for females continued to fall. Between 1990 and 1997, the rate decreased for males and females in all age groups, particularly for those using motor vehicle exhaust gas; the latter finding is associated with increasing use of catalytic converters.
Following the increase in suicide among males until 1990 there was a decrease for both genders between 1990 and 1997, consistent with the ‘Health of the Nation’ target.
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