Suicides in the developing world: case study from Pakistan

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There are no official data on suicide from Pakistan, a conservative South Asian Islamic country with traditionally low suicide rates. Both suicide and attempted suicide are illegal acts, as well as socially and religiously condemned, making research in this area difficult. Recent reports suggest an increase in suicide rates. In this study, police data from the Sindh province were examined to provide a unique picture of trends of suicide over 15 years (1985-1999). During this period there were 2,568 reported suicides (71% men, 39% women; ratio 1.8). The lowest number was 90 in 1987 and maximum was 360 in 1999. Poisoning by organophosphates was the most common method followed by hanging. This study, although limited in scope, provides evidence of an increase in suicide rates in Pakistan, from one data source. There is urgent need for further research on suicide in Pakistan; interventions for suicide prevention in the country can then be planned.


Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior