Temporal fluctuations and seasonality in attempted suicide in Europe
Jessen G., Andersen K., Arensman E., Bille-Brahe U., Crepet P., De Leo D., Hawton K., Haring C., Hjelmeland H., Michel K., Ostamo A., Salander-Renberg E., Schmidtke A., Temesvary B., Wasserman D.
The temporal variations (month of the year, day of the week, and time of day) in attempted suicide have been studied from data on 13,553 suicide attempts by persons aged 15 years and over from 13 centres participating in the WHO/EURO Multicentre Study on Parasuicide mainly in the three-year period 1990-1992. Seasonal and temporal fluctuation in suicide attempts were found throughout Europe. The seasonal pattern for attempted suicide was similar with that seen for suicide with a spring peak and a nadir in December, but only in females. In contrast with suicide, in which deaths are most common on Mondays, the peak days for attempted suicide was Sunday with fewest attempts occurring on Friday. Again this pattern was only statistically significant in females. The peak time of day for attempted suicide in both series was the late evening, whereas suicide is most frequent in the daytime. Our finding that half of the suicide attempts occur in the evening or early part of the night is particularly relevant to prevention, especially the availability of telephone help-lines and the accessibility of other sources of help for people in crisis.