Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, November 29, 2002

Suicide, Fifth Biggest Cause of Death in China: Survey

China's first ever national survey on suicide revealed an annual suicide rate of 287,000. Suicides account for 3.6 percent of the total deaths in China each year, the fifth major killer, behind cranial vascular disease, bronchitis, liver cancer and pneumonia.


China sees 287,000 suicides/year, according to the nation's first ever large-scale suicide survey released on November 26.

Starting from 1995, Beijing's Huilongguan Hospital, under the support of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, conducted the biggest suicide survey at 23 representative supervision stations known in China, putting to an end to the nation's history of lacking systematic and authoritative suicide statistics and analysis.

China's first medical body serving the suicidal population-Beijing Mental Crisis and Interference Center-will be set up at the Hunlongguan Hospital on December 3.

Fifth biggest cause of death
Among the most fatal causes of deaths in China between 1995 and 1999, suicide ranked the fifth, next only to cerebral vascular disease, bronchitis and chronic pulmonary emphysema, liver cancer and pneumonia. It was furthermore the biggest death cause among the population aged between 15 and 34, according to the survey released.

The national average suicide rate is 23/100,000, with 287,000 people died of it each year. On a national scale, suicidal death took up 3.6 percent of total death numbers and 19 percent of the deaths of the corresponding population. The suicide rate for female turned out 25 percent higher than that of male and the rural rate three times that of the urban one. Suicide has become an urgent problem to be solved in the field of public health.

Compared with other countries, China's comparatively high suicide rate displays its own characters. The rural rate is three times that of the urban one, that is, 90 percent suicides happen in rural areas. And China is the only country that reports higher female suicide rate than male, particularly among young women in rural areas, while in developed countries the rate for male is at least three times that of female. What's more, in other countries 90 percent suicide population suffers from mental disorders, while in China the rate is much lower.

By PD Online Staff Li Heng

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