Nova Scotia Releases Report On Suicide Cases

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A new report will better position government and its partners to help Nova Scotians at risk of attempting suicide.

The report, Suicide and Attempted Suicide in Nova Scotia, was released today, July 15. Its purpose is to help those who work in the areas of suicide prevention, intervention and support.

"Suicide is a very complex and sensitive public health issue," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief public health officer. "We need to talk about it more and better understand it to ensure the right programs and supports are in place to help Nova Scotians."

The report describes the conditions surrounding suicide and attempted suicide in Nova Scotia. The data is based on hospital and vital statistics records of suicides and suicide attempts from 1995 to 2004. It examines demographic factors, how people attempt suicide and complete suicide, and the types of health-care services used by Nova Scotians at risk.

"This report is a baseline we can use to evaluate future efforts on this important issue, and we've made good progress since 2004," said Dr. Strang. "We've developed a suicide prevention framework to reduce suicides and attempted suicides, we're doing additional research with the medical examiner's office, and we fund our community partners who work with Nova Scotians."

Dr. Stan Kutcher, Sun Life Financial chair in adolescent mental health, a partnership with the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University, said that even though suicide and suicide attempt rates are decreasing, and Nova Scotia is experiencing lower suicide rates than most Canadian provinces, there is more to be done.

"Improving care for people with mental disorders, enhancing the capability of health care and education professionals to identify people at risk, promoting overall good health and resiliency, and improving access to good mental health care, can all help further reduce Nova Scotia's suicide rates."

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Highlights of the report include:

-- the rate of hospitalizations for suicide attempts declined by 30 per cent over the 10-year period

-- 55 per cent of those hospitalized were female

-- Lower income was associated with higher rates of both hospitalizations for suicide attempts and suicide deaths

-- The rate of suicide death declined from 11 to nine individuals per 100,000

-- Nova Scotia's suicide rate was lower than the national average, nine out of 100,000 individuals compared to 11 out of 100,000

-- 84 per cent of suicide deaths were male

-- 55 per cent of suicide deaths were previously diagnosed with a mental disorder

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