The suicide rate in northern British Columbia was the highest in the province in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)

Northern B.C. had highest suicide rate in 2017

Northern British Columbia had the highest suicide rate in the province in 2017.

There was an average of 17.7 suicide deaths per 100,000 persons in the Northern Health region for 2017, the last year for which data is available, according to the BC Coroners Service report published on July 17.

Data for 2018 was not yet available because investigations into some deaths from last year were ongoing, as Coroners Service spokesperson Andy Watson told Lakes District News.

“We’ll only put out data once we have a certain percentage of investigations complete. I don’t foresee a massive change in the trend in 2018 but we’ll have to finish the investigations before we can say that with more certainty.”

The suicide rate was slightly higher in 2016, when it was 18.8, and even higher in 2015 when it was 22.6, the highest rate recorded in the province since 2007.

The lowest rate for 2017 was 8.6, in the Fraser Health region.

The rate of deaths per 100,000 persons specifically for the Northern Interior region – which comprises territory from the Alberta border and west to just past Burns Lake – was 16.9 for 2017.

It was 26.8 for the Northeast and 19.7 for the Northwest.

A total of 25 suicides were recorded in the region in 2017. The number is the highest in northern B.C., with 19 recorded in the Northeast and eight in the Northwest. There were 22 suicides in the Northern Interior in 2016.

There were 572 suicides province-wide in 2017.

Males comprised 75 per cent of suicides in 2017, and 52 per cent of suicides in the 30-59 age bracket.

The month with the most suicides was March, when 66 people killed themselves.

The three most common forms of suicide two years ago were by hanging, fire arms and poisoning.

If you are concerned about your mental health call the BC Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day at 310-6789 (no area code).

If you are considering ending your life or are worried about someone who might be call 1-800-SUICIDE.


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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