POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 59 Methods of suicide vary by sex and age Over the past ten years, the most common method of suicide in Canada has been hanging (44%), which includes strangulation and suffocation; followed by poisoning (25%) and firearm use (16%). Males were most likely to commit suicide by hanging (46%) while females most often died by poisoning (42%) (see Chart 2). Males (20%) were far more likely to use firearms than females (3%). Chart 2: Percentage distribution of method used in suicide, by sex, Canada, 2000-2009 (ten year average) Even though hanging has been the most common method of suicide, it declined with age; 55% of 15 to 39 year-olds died as a result of hanging, compared with 30% of those aged 60 and older. The percentage of suicides involving a firearm, on the other hand, increased with age; 12% of 15 to 39 used a firearm, compared with 26% of those aged 60 and older (Chart 3). Variability in the method also increased with age. While most young people (15 to 39 years old) committed suicide by hanging, there was greater variability in the method of those aged 40 and older. Chart 3: Percentage distribution of method used in suicide, by age group, Canada, 2000-2009 (ten year average) The highest rates of suicide occur during mid-life When suicide deaths are examined across age groups, persons aged 40 to 59 have the highest rates (see Chart 4). Forty-five percent of all suicides in 2009 (1,769 out of a total of 3,890) were in this age group, compared with 35% for those aged 15 to 39, and 19% for those over the age of 60. This has been a persistent trend in Canada, yet contrasts with suicide trends in many other countries where the rate of suicide tends to increase with age. Chart 4: Suicides per 100,000, by age group and sex, Canada, 2009 SUICIDE RATES: AN OVERVIEW ►