Thursday. 09.02.2023

Suicides increase for the second consecutive year in Finland

Statistics Finland published its study on causes of death in 2017. Diseases of the circulatory system killed 19,077 Finns during the last year (36%). Fatal falls also caused the death of 1,200 people and alcohol played an important role on that.

Suicide Finland pils woman arm

The number of people who died from suicide has increased in Finland during the last two years. In 2017, altogether 824 persons committed suicide. Those are over 30 suicides more than in the year before and over 90 more than in 2015, according to figures published by the Finnish statistic office. These figures are part of the 2017 statistics on causes of death.

suicides mortality 1971 2017

Source: Statistics Finland

Statistics Finland stresses that, despite the recent increase in the two recent years, suicide mortality has decreased over 20% in ten years, concretely by 22% among men and by 16% among women.

The number of suicides has decreased relatively evenly since 1990, when more than 1,500 suicides were committed. Men’s suicide mortality has decreased more than women’s. However, men still commit clearly much more suicides than women. In fact, three out of four persons who committed suicide in Finland were men.

During the last ten years the decrease in suicide mortality is most clearly visible among middle-aged persons. In contrast, the suicide mortality among persons aged under 25 has not decreased in a similar way. The average age of those who committed suicide was 49 for women and 46 for men in 2017. More than 100 persons aged under 25 committed suicide during the last year.

Other causes of death

Among other causes of death, the main one are the diseases of the circulatory system, which killed 19,077 people in 2017 (36% of the total). In this case, the numbers show almost no differences in terms of gender: 9,553 of them were male and 9,524 women.

Causes of death 2017

According to the statistics on causes of death, a total of over 1,200 persons died as a result of accidental stumbles and falls in 2017.

This was more than half of all accidental deaths. In recent years, the number of accidental falls especially among men has increased. Four out of five falls resulting in death occurred to persons aged over 75. The most common place where accidents happened was at home.

In general, deaths from accidental falls have increased significantly. In the 1970s they caused the death of around 500 persons yearly in Finland, whereas 1,200 persons died, 700 men and 500 women in 2017.

Relative to population size, the number of deaths caused by falls has more than doubled in forty years. During the last ten years men’s mortality from accidental falls has increased by over 10 per cent, whereas correspondingly women’s mortality has remained the same.

Falls resulting in death increase with age. Fewer than 10 persons aged under 35 died from stumbles or falls in 2017. The majority of stumbling accidents occurred to persons aged over 75. The average age at death caused by falls was 81 years for men and 88 years for women. Relative to the population, the older the age group in question, the more deaths caused by falls occurred, for both women and men. Furthermore, in relative terms, clearly more falls leading to death occurred to men than to women in all age groups.

Mortality accidental falls 2017

The role played by alcohol

Among people under 65 years old, alcohol has played an important part in fatal falling accidents. Around one-third of persons under 65 who died as a result of a fall were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. In contrast, the part played by alcohol in falling accidents among those older than 65 “was very small, only a few per cent” Statistics Finland said.

Around one-half of the fatal falling accidents occurred at home and slightly more than one-third in social welfare and health care service entities in 2017. The statistics include cases where the person has died immediately after the accidental falling or several weeks later due to different complications from the stumble.

Compared to the previous year, the number of persons that died from alcohol-related causes decreased in 2017. Just under 1,600 persons died from alcohol, which was almost 200 persons fewer than in 2016.

Death for alcohol-related causes increase among the elder

Statistics Finland insists that alcohol mortality has decreased in recent years, especially in younger age groups. In contrast, alcohol mortality among women aged 65 and over and men aged 75 and over has increased during the past five years.

The majority of persons who died of alcohol-related causes are still of working age but the share of persons aged over 65 has grown from 17 to 37 per cent over the past ten years. In 2017, the average age for men who died of alcohol-related causes was 61 years and that of women 62 years.

The statistic office explains that “the number of deaths from alcohol has followed the changes in alcohol consumption, even though alcohol-related deaths usually call for long-term harmful use of alcohol that lasts for several years”.

Several different alcohol-related diseases used as primary causes of death and accidental alcohol poisonings have been collected into alcohol-related causes of death. Diseases related to alcohol use, such as liver and heart diseases, cause a majority of deaths from alcohol-related causes. The share of alcohol poisonings in deaths from alcohol-related causes has decreased from 26 to 14 per cent over a ten-year period. In 2017, altogether 213 persons died from alcohol poisoning.

Suicides increase for the second consecutive year in Finland