What Are We Aiming For? Comparing Suicide by Firearm in Toronto With the Five Largest Metropolitan Areas in the United States

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What Are We Aiming For? Comparing Suicide by Firearm in Toronto With the Five Largest Metropolitan Areas in the United States

Category: Firearm Availability, International, Suicide|Journal: Crisis (full text)|Author: A Schaffer, M Sinyor, M Vincent, M Williams|Year: 2019

Background: US suicide rates correlate with firearm availability. Little is known about variability in rates across countries.

Aims: To observe the relationship between firearm/overall suicide rates in Toronto, Canada, and the five most populous US metropolitan areas.

Method: Centers for Disease Control suicide rates by age and sex for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston metropolitan areas were compared with equivalent data for Toronto (1999–2015).

Results: Suicide rates by firearm, per 100,000 population, ranged from 0.45 in Toronto to 6.03 in Houston while rates by other methods ranged from 4.34 in Dallas-Fort Worth to 7.11 in Toronto. Overall rates of suicide ranged from 6.14 in New York to 10.45 in Houston. The two cities with the highest firearm suicide rates, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, also had much higher overall rates. Firearm suicides were most common in men over the age of 65 in all cities.

Limitations:This study could not account for cultural differences between cities/countries. Conclusion: Much higher overall rates of suicide observed for Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston appear to be associated with high rates of suicide by firearm. Advocacy for means safety should target cities with high rates of firearm suicide and, in particular, elderly men.

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