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Nunes EA, Fernandes GX, Maia-de-Oliveira JP, Lima AMO. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. 2019; 41(5): 462-464.


Hospital Universitário Onofre Lopes, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, RN, Brazil.


(Copyright © 2019, Associacao Brasileira de Psiquiatria)






Considering the findings reported by Borges-Santos & Wang in their letter “Suicide by hanging in Brazil: challenges to mitigating its escalation,” which reported a proportional increase of 51.1% in suicide by hanging over 20 years (1997-2017),1 we hypothesized that, in some regions of Brazil, these rates would vary as a result of local specificities. Jumping from high places is a growing method of suicide in cities where suicide “hotspots” are popular, as we believe is the case of Natal (population 1,485,505), the capital of the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte, where the construction of a high-level bridge may have increased the number of suicides by jumping. We conducted a search of Brazilian Ministry of Health data (DATASUS), analyzing deaths from self-inflicted causes (ICD-10 codes X60-X84) in the city of Natal over the same 20-year period (1997-2017), and compared the number of suicides before and after the new bridge was opened (on November 21, 2007).

Overall, during this 20-year period, 488 people committed suicide in the city: 47.3% by hanging (the most observed method), followed by fire (13.7%) and self-inflicted gunshot wounds (10.4%); jumping accounted for only 8.4% of suicides. The second period (2007-2017) conserved hanging as the leading cause (52,6%), but already showed suicide by jumping in second, sharing the same proportion with lesions caused by fire (both representing 11,3% of suicides). In 1997, hanging represented 41.6% of all suicides, and no suicides by jumping occurred. In 2017, 52.9% of suicides were by hanging (a 27.1% increase), followed by jumping (now representing 21% of all completed suicides). This represents an important disparity to the data reported by Borges-Santos & Wang. While hanging remained as the leading method of suicide, we observed a downward trend in its proportion, while suicide by jumping steadily rose in popularity. Our data suggest that this occurred particularly after 2007, in a clear overlap with the opening of the bridge ...

Language: en


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