Suicide cases rising in Netherlands

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Suicide (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Manos Bourdakis). Suicide (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Manos Bourdakis)

The number of suicides in the Netherlands increased again last year, according to Statistics Netherlands. In 2016 a total of 1,894 people in the Netherlands took their own life, 25 more than in 2015. 

In relation to the number of residents in the Netherlands, the number of suicides has been stable for a few years. Since 2013 there's been 11 suicides per 100 thousand inhabitants each year, about equal to the European average. The increase in absolute numbers can therefore be attributed to population growth, according to Statistics Netherlands.

Men were twice as likely to commit suicide than women last year. 1,279 of the suicide deaths were men, and 615 were women. 

Another reason for the increase is the aging population. According to the stats office, more and more Dutch people reach the age groups known to be vulnerable to suicide. Most people who commit suicide are between the ages of 50 and 60. But the number of suicides is rising the fastest among the elderly. In the 80 years and older age group, the number of suicides increased by 12 percent last year, from 14.7 per 100 thousand inhabitants to 16.4.

Last year 48 people under the age of 20 died by suicide, the same number as in 2015. In the age group 10 to 40 years, suicide is the most common cause of death, closely followed by cancer. 

Groningen has the highest suicide rate in the Netherlands. 14.7 people per 100 thousand inhabitants in the province committed suicide last year. Zuid-Holland was the lowest with 9.4.

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