The aim of this study was to investigate the methods used and demographic data of women suicides by examining postmortem investigation and autopsy reports from the Branch of the Council of Forensic Medicine in Diyarbakir Province, Turkey, between 1996 and 2001. Fifty-eight percent (174/302) of suicides were females and 42% (128/302) were males. The suicide rates were similarly higher for females than for males (2.6 and 1.8 per 10,000 population, respectively).
Over half of female suicides (56.3%) occurred in those under 20 years of age. The most common suicide method for women was hanging (32.2%), and for men was firearms (51.7%), but for women younger than 20 years the most frequent method was firearms. Among the female suicides, five (2.8%) were known to have attempted suicide at least once in the past. Twenty-nine women (16.7%) were documented to have any psychiatric illness. None of the women had a history of drug or alcohol abuse. A suicide note was found in only six cases (3.4%). The predominant suicide motive was family problems (in 32% or 56/174).
The higher rate of suicide in females than in males, and the absolute female predominance in suicides in Diyarbakir, Turkey, are in contrast to most of the medical literature and statistical information about suicide rates by country, in which suicide rates are usually higher among males.
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