Decriminalizing suicide attempt in the 21st century

BMC PsychiatryScott Cunningham MD PhD, et al. | June 24, 2022



While it is not clear that criminalization of suicide attempts is a deterrent, it is clear that survivors of a suicide attempt often have persistent depression and psychache, and are likely to benefit from family and community support, and mental health intervention

The WHO Global Health Estimates was the source of data pertaining to suicides in the 20 countries that criminalize suicide, and population data were retrieved from the World Bank. The study period was 2000-2019.

Of the 20 countries (population = 972 million) that currently criminalize suicide attempts, the suicide rate between 2000 and 2019 was 2.5-40.9/100,000 population/year (mean = 8.3/100,000/year) compared with the suicide rate in countries that did not criminalize suicide attempts during the same period (9/100,000/year).