Everyone can make a difference in suicide prevention by working together. World Suicide Prevention Day is observed each year on September 10 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). As a member of the IASP, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) holds a press conference today (September 10) with the theme “Moving Forward Together” to release the latest suicide figures in Hong Kong.
Latest Suicide Figures and Trends
With data extracted from the Coroner’s Court, CSRP estimated that the 2021 suicide rate1in Hong Kong was 12.3, which is higher than the 12.1 recorded in 2020. To enable a valid comparison of suicide rates among different regions, suicide rates are standardized and adjusted according to the age structure of the world population. Since ageing in Hong Kong is more severe than in other regions, after adjustment, the age-standardized suicide rate in Hong Kong is estimated at 9.0 for 2021, which is the same as the global rate of 9.0 for 2019 (World Health Organization, 2021).
Elderly Suicide Rates
From 1997 to the figure estimated for 2021, the suicide rate of males has remained consistently higher and double that of females (Males: 16.8; Females: 8.5). Compared to 2020, the overall suicide rate for males has a slight increase (16.2 to 16.8); however, the suicide rate for females has seen a slight decrease (8.7 to 8.5). The suicide rate of older people has always been higher than that of other age groups. Within the elderly population, the suicide rate of men aged 60 or above showed a significant increase from 24.3 in 2020 to 27.3 in 2021, while the suicide rate of women aged 60 or above has revealed a slight decrease from 14.9 in 2020 to 14.6 in 2021.
Youth Suicide Rates
In recent years, youth suicides have become a heightened concern in society. The suicide rate of those under 15 reached a historical high of 1.7. Besides, the suicide rate of under-15 males has a one-fold increase from 1.2 in 2020 to 2.4 in 2021, while the females slightly decreased from 1.2 in 2020 to 1.0 in 2021.
The suicide rate for 15 to 24-year-olds is 9.3, which is higher than 8.6 in 2020 and has risen to a similar level as 9.6 in 2018. Notably, there has been a drastic increase in suicide rates among females in this age group since 2019 (from 4.4 in 2019 to 6.0 in 2020, then to 6.5 in 2021). The male also slightly increased from 11.2 in 2020 to 12.0 in 2021.
Suicide Prevention is a critical global public health concern. You are cordially invited to join us and move forward with the people in need.
With the pandemic and uncertain economic outlook in our society, the Centre has been dedicated to looking out for one another, bravely facing life’s challenges, and co-constructing a better Hong Kong together.
About the HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP), HKU
Founded in 2002, CSRP has established its worldwide reputation in suicide research and prevention and extended its scope of research to the well-being of individuals and the whole society. CSRP believes that empirical research would optimize practices and contribute to the improvement of society.
This press release, the PowerPoint and the photos for the press conference can be downloaded from the following website after 14:00, September 10, 2022: