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Minerva Psichiatrica 2004 September;45(3):141-8

language: English

Suicidal behavior between 1996 and 2000 in the municipality of Padua (Italy). A retrospective analysis

Majori S., Zanin G., Benvenuti K., Cristofoletti M., Tardivo S., Romano G., Trivello R., Baldo V.


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Aim. The aim of this paper is to determine suicide rates and their characteristics in Padua between 1996 and 2000, and to compare them with other Veneto areas and Italy.
Methods. Data records collected by the Police on suicidal deaths were analyzed. For each suicide case, these reports recorded the age, sex, marital status, concomitant mental or physical illnesses, emotional disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction and suicide method.
Results. The average suicide rate in Padua is 14.3/105 inhabitants. The annual suicide rate dropped from 16.6 to 7.1 between 1996-2000, with higher levels in late spring-early summer and in winter. Almost 62.9% of suicides involved male subjects. A rising trend with age was apparent, especially over 65 years. Divorce appears a very important factor, with male and female suicide rates of 79.1 and 39.8/105, respectively (p<0.05). Mental disorders frequently precede suicide; the preferred methods are hanging and poisoning, followed by drowning and leaping down to death.
Conclusion. There is a declining trend in the suicide rate in Padua, but it remains higher than the regional and national official data. Marital status may affect the suicide rate, but in an age-related manner. Individuals over 65 years old seem to have lower defenses against stressful conditions of life such as loneliness and disease. Though the highest suicide rates are recorded among the over 65 year-olds, efforts to detect risk conditions should start early in life, with psychological screening and counseling at school. Psychological support could be offered at all ages, however, at any critical times in every person's life.

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