6. Increase in the number of suicides from previous years

The number of suicides has decreased relatively evenly since 1990, when more than 1,500 suicides were committed in Finland. The decrease in suicides has been clearer among men than among women. However, the number of deaths from suicide has increased in the past two years. In 2017, altogether 824 persons committed suicide, which was over 30 cases more than in the previous year and over 100 cases more than in 2015. Despite the increase in the number of suicides in recent years, suicide mortality has decreased by over 20 per cent in ten years, by 22 per cent for men and 16 per cent for women.

Men still commit clearly more suicides than women. Three-quarters of suicides were committed by men. In 2017, suicide mortality or the number of suicides a year per 100,000 population was 15, being 22 for men and 8 for women (Figure 12).

During the last ten years the decrease in suicide mortality is most clearly visible among middle-aged persons. In contrast, the suicide mortality among persons aged under 25 has not decreased in a similar way. The average age of those who committed suicide was 49 for women and 46 for men in 2017.

Suicides are a central cause of death for young people. Among the causes of death for young people aged 15 to 24, the share of suicides was over one third. The share of suicides in the causes of death for young people is high because other mortality among young people is low. Of all those who committed suicide, slightly more than one in ten was under 25.

Young people's suicide mortality in Finland is high by European comparison. According to Eurostat's statistics for 2015, suicide mortality among young people aged 15 to 24 was higher than in Finland only in five EU countries. By contrast, for persons aged 65 and over, suicide mortality in Finland did not differ from the EU average.

Figure 12. Suicides mortality 1971 to 2017

Figure 12. Suicides mortality 1971 to 2017

Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Airi Pajunen 029 551 3605, Jari Hellanto 029 551 3291, Kati Taskinen 029 551 3648, kuolemansyyt@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Updated 17.12.2018

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2017, 6. Increase in the number of suicides from previous years . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 20.3.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2017/ksyyt_2017_2018-12-17_kat_006_en.html