Self-burning – A rare suicide method in Switzerland and other industrialised nations

A review

News items reporting self-immolation by Tibetans have been on the increase in recent years. After examining the corpse of a Swiss man who had committed suicide by deliberate self-burning, we wondered how often this occurs in Switzerland. The Federal Statistics Office (FSO) does not register self-burning specifically so no official national data on this form of suicide are available. However, we had access to the data from a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) project «Suicides in Switzerland between 2000 and 2010», which collected information on all (4885) cases of suicide investigated by the various institutes of forensic medicine. From this data pool we extracted 50 cases (1.02%) of suicide by selfburning, in order to determine the details and to identify the possible reasons for choosing this method.


Chances and Limits of Method Restriction:

A Detailed Analysis of Suicide Methods in Switzerland

The objective of this study was to estimate the potential of method restriction as a public health strategy in suicide prevention. Data from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office and the Swiss Institutes of Forensic Medicine from 2004 were gathered and categorized into suicide submethods according to accessibility to restriction of means.


Methods of suicide used by children and adolescents

Although relatively rare, suicide is a leading cause of death in children and adolescents in the Western world. This study examined whether children and adolescents are drawn to other methods of suicide than adults.


Drug suicide: a sex-equal cause of death in 16 European countries

Background: There is a lack of international research on suicide by drug overdose as a preventable suicide method. Sex- and age-specific rates of suicide by drug self-poisoning (ICD-10, X60-64) and the distribution of drug types used in 16 European countries were studied, and compared with other self-poisoning methods (X65-69) and intentional self-injury (X70-84).
Methods:Data for 2000-04/05 were collected from national statistical offices. Age-adjusted suicide rates, and age and sex distributions, were calculated.


Suicide trends diverge by method

Swiss suicide rates 1969 – 2005

We examined the change in Swiss suicide rates since 1969, breaking down the rates according to the method used. The descriptive analyses of the main suicide methods are presented. The suicide rates reached a peak in the late 1970s/early 1980s and declined in more recent years. Firearm suicides and suicides by falls were the exception and sustained their upwards trend until the 1990s. Suicide by vehicle exhaust asphyxiation showed a rapid decline following the introduction of catalytic converters in motor vehicles. No substantial method substitution was observed. Suicide by poisoning declined in the 1990s but rose again following an increase in assisted suicide in somatically incurable patients. Suicide is too often regarded as a homogeneous phenomenon.With regard to the method they choose, suicide victims are a heterogeneous population and it is evident that different suicide methods are chosen by different people. A better understanding of the varying patterns of change over time in the different suicide methods used may lead to differentiated preventive strategies.


Methods of suicide:

International suicide patterns derived from the WHO mortality database

Accurate information about preferred suicide methods is important for devising strategies and programmes for suicide prevention. Our knowledge of the methods used and their variation across countries and world regions is still limited. The aim of this study was to provide the first comprehensive overview of international patterns of suicide methods.


Suicide by jumping from bridges and other heights: Social and diagnostic factors

The goal of the study was to determine social and diagnostic characteristics of persons who end their lives by jumping from heights and to compare the characteristics of those who jump from bridges with those jumping from other sites. Data on suicide in Switzerland between 1990 and 2003 were collected from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office and from local authorities.


Suicide methods in Europe:

A gender-specific analysis of countries participating in the ‘‘European Alliance Against Depression’’

Objective: To identify the most frequent gender-specific suicide methods in Europe.
Design: Proportions of seven predominant suicide methods utilised in 16 countries participating in the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD) were reported in total and cross-nationally. Relative risk (RR) relating to suicide methods and gender was calculated. To group countries by pattern of suicide methods, hierarchical clustering was applied.