Friday, November 19, 2010

Inaccuracy of officially reported suicide statistics in Europe

Whether one obtains greater accuracy by invoking a European or non-European source for European suicide statistics is interesting. Who has the most to gain by misrepresenting these statistics? Thornton used a non-European source. It is apparently well known that accurate suicide statistics are difficult to obtain. Witness this UK problem:

"Br J Psychiatry. 1975 Apr;126:301-8.

Suicide in Dublin: I. The under-reporting of suicide and the consequences for national statistics.

McCarthy PD, Walsh D.


This study of suicide in Dublin during 1964-1968 from coroners' records was undertaken to estimate the discrepancy between coroners' verdicts, the national suicide statistics compiled from them and the clinical assessment of probability of suicide by psychiatrists examining the same records. The large difference in numbers of suicides deriving from the two approaches has considerable implications for national suicide statistics, and these have been briefly considered. From the findings presented we believe that we are justified in concluding that: (a) there are real differences in national suicide rates, at least between Ireland, England and Wales, and Scotland, and (b) the Irish suicide rate is low, though not as low as official statistics suggest, and (c) the discrepancy between official and "true" suicide rates in Ireland is greater than in England and Wales and in Scotland.

PMID: 1156735 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

See also,


Suicide is underreported for a number of reasons and the reliability of the official rates is subject to error from variation in defining and reporting cases-the kind of inaccuracies encountered when ascertaining cases in studies of mortality from any cause. . . .

I admit to being opposed to the EU Project. I have said as much in previous notes. It didn't surprise me to read Thornton's reference. It would surprise me to learn that this situation is as rosy as official European statistics indicate. 

Interestingly, refusing to have children is a form of national suicide. It is more difficult to hide the accuracy of that statistic.

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