Suicide study and suicide prevention in mainland China

Xiao Shuiyuan

in Oxford Textbook of Suicidology and Suicide Prevention

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198570059
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199640461 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Suicide study and suicide prevention in mainland China

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Detailed descriptions of suicide can be found in Chinese historical writing, novels, and poetry, yet empirical suicide research has only developed in the past decade in China. Rigorous statistics on suicide have not been available until recently, and the systematic study of suicide is still at its preliminary stages. In this chapter, existing epidemiological data of suicide in mainland China is reviewed, ensued by a brief discussion about cultural views on suicide. Subsequently, there is an analysis of the possible influences of socio-economic and sociocultural changes leading to transitions in public health and suicidal behaviour. The available suicide statistics reveal certain dissimilarities to other statistics across the world: China is the only country with statistics showing an equal amount or more of female suicides. Furthermore, about one-third of the persons who commit suicide have no diagnosis of mental illness. In China, the suicide rate among rural residents is three to five times higher than that of urban residents. The high suicide rates among rural residents are strongly linked to the most frequent suicide method, which is the consumption of poisons, especially pesticides. The final section of the chapter is a discussion of the implications of available suicide studies on suicide prevention.

Chapter.  8741 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychiatry

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