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Prevalence Rates

Prevalence Rates

It is estimated that one person throughout the world commits suicide every 40 seconds. (World Health Organization, 2002) Canadian statistics indicate that over 3600 people died as a result of suicide in 2001.  (World Health Organization, 2002)

Suicide rates are linked to gender. Women are more prone to suicidal thoughts however; men are more likely to choose a more lethal method, resulting in much higher suicide rates among men. (World Health Organization, 2002). 

 

Age

5-14

15-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65-74

75+

All

Females

13

105

114

186

206

100

58

38

820

Males

14

398

500

707

639

309

172

131

2870

Total

27

503

614

893

845

409

230

169

3690

 

Figure 1:  2001 recorded suicide rates in Canada based on age and gender. (World Health Organization, 2002)  

Gambling-Related Suicides in Canada

 According to a 1996 report by the National Council of Welfare, suicide attempts are more frequent among those who are experiencing problems related to gambling, compared to the general population.  In addition, attempts are also more common among persons experiencing problems related to gambling than among persons experiencing problems with any other types of addictions.

The Canada Safety Council estimates that over 200 Canadians experiencing problems related to gambling end up taking their own life every year. (Canada Safety Council, 2006) However, because this has not been well tracked in all provinces, nobody can accurately say how many gambling-related suicides there have been in Canada.  Until recently, not all provinces have recorded gambling-related suicides and there has been inconsistent ways of tracking them among the Provinces that do gather that information.  For example, Ontario has been recording gambling-related suicides since 1998, however the rates for Ontario are lower than those in provinces such as “Alberta, Nova Scotia and Quebec, because the links to gambling have not been as thoroughly probed and reported in this Province.  (Canadian Press, 2003)

In 2003, however, coroners across Canada agreed that they would start recording gambling-related suicides.  They decided that they would note each time gambling is mentioned in a suicide note or by loved ones.  (Canadian Press, 2003)

In addition to problems related to tracking, it is not always evident that a death is caused by suicide.  In some instances, a suicide can be disguised as an accident.  Also, if there is no suicide note referring to gambling, or a person’s gambling is hidden from others, it may not be known that gambling was related to the suicide.  Finally, for some families, the shame and guilt that they experience around suicide and/or gambling may cause them to withhold that information.  (Canada Safety Council, 2006)

Gambling-Related Suicides in Ontario 

Problem gambling is having an impact in Ontario.  As seen in Table 1, there has been an average of 5.4 gambling-related suicides recorded in Ontario by the Office of the Chief Coroner since 1998. 

Age

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004*

2005*

10-19

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20-29

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

 

30-39

2

 

2

2

2

3

2

 

40-49

1

2

3

1

1

3

3

1

50-59

 

1

1

 

1

 

1

1

60-69

 

 

 

 

2

2

 

2

Total

4

4

6

4

6

9

6

4

*Note: 2004 and 2005 rates are preliminary results only and these figures may change once the statistical year has been finalized.

 Table 1:  Recorded gambling-related suicides in Ontario since 1998.

(Office of the Chief Coroner, Province of Ontario, 1998)

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