Suicide Methods in Asia: Implications in Suicide Prevention

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the World. Approximately one million people commit suicide each year, or about one life lost every 40 seconds [1]. As the largest continent in the World, Asia accounts for about 60% of World suicides, with China, India, and Japan accounting for about 40% of the World’s suicides [2]. However, probably due to religion, socio-cultural factors, or lack of reliable death certification procedure, the extent of underestimation of suicide rate in this region has been a problem, especially in China and India [3]. In fact, there are countries in Asia that do not systematically report suicide statistics at all and as such, the problem of suicide may be more severe than what the numbers show.  Preventing suicide by restricting access to suicide methods is one of the few evidence-based suicide prevention strategies [4]. Effective suicide prevention requires good studies on the use of suicide methods in different countries. Although research into suicide methods in Western countries (Europe and the U.S.) has been abundant, a more thorough understanding of the use and impact of suicide methods is still lacking, especially in Asia. As shown above, suicides in Asia comprise of the majority of suicides in the World. Thus it is necessary to inquire into the suicide methods patterns in Asia as a preliminary engagement with the tasks of suicide prevention. Also, the focus on Asia is a good beginning to explore further the importance of sociocultural differences in suicide prevention.