Suicide in Canada

  • About 3,600 people commit suicide in Canada each year. That's about 10 suicides per day.
  • About four times more men will commit suicide this year than women.
  • Women make 3 to 4 times more suicide attempts than men. Women are also hospitalized for attempted suicide at 1.5 times the rate of men.
  • For every suicide death, there are an estimated 20 to 25 attempts.
  • Canada has a suicide rate of about 11 per 100,000. That's a slightly higher rate than the U.S.
  • Canadians are about 6 times more likely to commit suicide than they are to be a victim of homicide.
  • For people between the ages of 15 and 44, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death.
  • The most-common method of completed suicide in Canada was suffocation, principally hanging. These account for 40 per cent of completed suicides. Poisoning, which includes drug overdoses and inhalation of motor vehicle exhaust, is the next most-common.
  • By far, the most common method of self-injury and suicide attempts leading to hospitalization is poisoning.
  • Suicide rates for the immigrant population are about half those for the Canadian-born.
  • Suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15-24 year old Canadians.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24.
  • The rate of suicide among Aboriginals is twice the national rate. Among women, the rate of suicide for Aboriginal is three times the national rate.

Suicide facts

  • While suicide is often perceived as a problem among young people, men over the age of 80 have the highest suicide rate in Canada.
  • The rate of suicide for women peaks in middle adulthood, ages 45-49, and then typically declines after age 60.
  • Four out of 5 people who have died by suicide have made at least one previous attempt.
  • According to the WHO, suicide rates have increased by 60 per cent worldwide in the last 45 years.
  • More than 90 percent of suicide victims have a diagnosable psychiatric illness. In patients with mood disorders, major depression and bipolar disorder account for 15 to 25 percent of all deaths by suicide.
  • Suicides do not increase around Christmas, despite the myth. Depression rates during the holidays. Late July and August have the highest suicide rate out of all the months of the year.
  • Suicide is the most common cause of premature death for people with schizophrenia. About 40 per cent of people with schizophrenia will attempt suicide at least once.
  • Depression is the most treatable of mental illnesses. The recovery rate for moderate to severe clinical depression is 60 to 80 percent using talk therapy and medication in combination

Risk factors for suicide

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of child maltreatment
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • History of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
  • Local epidemics of suicide
  • Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
  • Loss (relational, social, work, or financial)
  • Physical illness
  • Easy access to lethal methods

Wth reports from Statistics Canada, the Canadian Mental Health Asociation, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention