Changing suicide trends in Taiwan: A joinpoint regression analysis from 1971 to 2018

Yi Han Chang, Shih Cheng Liao, Chien Yu Lin, Chia Yueh Hsu, Shu Sen Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Suicide rates in Taiwan did not continue their previous downward trend during the past ten years. This study aimed to investigate suicide trends and assess differences by sex, age, and method in Taiwan between 1971 and 2018 to better understand the pattern of changes in trends over the last ten years. Methods: Suicide data were extracted from Taiwan's national cause-of-death mortality data files. Annual age-standardized suicide rates for population aged ≥ 15 years and suicide rates by sex, age (15-24, 25-44, 45-64, and ≥65 years), and method (hanging, poisoning, charcoal burning, jumping, drowning, and other methods) were calculated. Joinpoint regression was used to identify the years in which suicide trends changed. Results: Age-standardized suicide rates decreased between 1971 and 1992, with the most marked decline observed during the late 1980s. Suicide rates subsequently increased to reach a relative peak in 2006 and then decreased until 2011, after which the downward trend changed to a stable trend. The recent changes in suicide trends were mainly observed in males aged 15-64 and females aged 15-24. We observed similar changes in these groups for trends in suicide rates of common suicide methods including hanging, charcoal burning, and falling. The most common methods of suicide changed from poisoning to hanging, charcoal burning, poisoning, and falling in Taiwan over the study period. Furthermore, the main methods of suicide differed by sex and age groups in recent years. Conclusions: Suicide rates did not continue to fall in Taiwan over the last decade, with differences in trends and common suicide methods across different sex and age groups. Further research is required to identify sex- and age-specific factors contributing to recent changes in suicide trends in various demographic groups to inform suicide prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-552
Number of pages17
JournalTaiwan Journal of Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Joinpoint regression
  • Suicide
  • Suicide rates
  • Taiwan
  • Trend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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