Although child mortality is decreasing in Sweden, an increase in suicide rates has been previously observed among children and adolescents collectively. To increase knowledge about trends, demographics, and means in child suicides, data including all child (< 18 years) suicides in Sweden in 2000 through 2018 were retrieved from the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine. In all, a total of 416 child suicides were found in a 19-year period, accounting for an annual suicide rate of 1.1/100,000 child population. The number of suicides increased with 2.2% by each successive year during the study period (p < 0.001). The mean age in both sexes was 16 years; boys accounted for 55% and girls for 45% of all study cases. The majority of the children who died by suicide (96%) were teenagers (13–17 years old) and suicides in children younger than 10 years were uncommon. Suicide methods were 59% hanging, 20% lying/jumping in front of a moving object, 8% jumping from a height, 7% firearm injury, 4% poisoning, and 2% other methods. Sex differences were significant (p < 0.001) only for firearms being preferably used by boys. The vast majority of firearms used were licensed long-barreled weapons. Conclusion: The number of child suicides in Sweden is relatively low but increasing. Most of the children used a violent and highly lethal method. Prevention of premature mortality is an urgent concern with an emphasis on resolutely reducing the availability of suicide means.
- Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi