Comparing gender-specific suicide mortality rate trends in the United States and Lithuania, 1990–2019: putting one of the “deaths of despair” into perspective
BMC Psychiatry, 22:127, 1–9 (2022)
Introduction: The increase in the suicide mortality rate among middle-aged adults in the United States (US) has been well documented. Aside from a few studies from the United Kingdom, it is unclear whether the suicide mortality rate trend in the US is also occurring in other developed countries. Accordingly, we aimed to compare the suicide mortality rate trends over the past 30 years in the US to a country in the European Union–Lithuania.
Methods: Joinpoint regression analyses were performed to identify secular trends in the gender-specific age-standardized suicide mortality rate among individuals 15 + years of age, as well as middle-aged adults (45–54 years of age), and suicide mortality rate ratio for men-to-women.
Results: Age-standardized suicide mortality rates among middle-aged adults in the US increased annually, on average, by 0.89% (95% CI: 0.66%, 1.12%) among men and 1.21% (95% CI: 0.75%, 1.66%) among women between 1990 and 2019. In contrast to the US, there was an overall downward trend in the suicide mortality rates among middle-aged adults in Lithuania across the study period. The average annual percent change in the suicide mortality rate ratio for men-to-women were not statistically significant for either country.
Conclusion: The suicide mortality rate trend in the US does not appear to be an indicator of an upcoming global trend, but rather should be regarded as a cautionary example of what other countries should strive to avoid.
Keywords: Lithuania, USA, health policy, suicide