Suicide has been decreasing over the past decade. However, we do not know whether socioeconomic inequality in suicide has been decreasing as well.
We assessed recent trends in socioeconomic inequalities in suicide in 15 European populations.
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.
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.
The World Health Organization (WHO) plan for ‘Fair opportunity of mental wellbeing’ is not likely to be met.
Declaration of interest