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Increased risk of suicide in hot weather

AUGUST 01, 2007

Dr Lisa Page, clinical lecturer and researcher at the Institute is the lead author in a new study that finds an increased risk of suicide during hot weather.  The study is published in the August issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

This study sets out to assess the relationship between daily temperature and daily suicide counts in England and Wales over ten years (Jan 93-Dec 03) and although researchers did not find a spring or summer peak in suicide, once temperatures rose above 18 C, with each extra degree C increase in average temperature there was also an associated rise in all suicides of 3.8% and of 5% in violent suicides.

There are three mechanisms by which higher temperatures could cause suicide - sociological, biological and psychological, which the researchers explore.  The effects of high temperatures on suicide counts will probably become more important as global warming continues.  If a consistent association between short-term high temperatures and suicide is identified, further attention needs to be paid to the mechanisms that underlie this effect.

Please refer to the British Journal of Psychiatry for a copy of the paper.

Relationship between daily suicide counts and temperature in England and Wales Br. J. Psychiatry, Aug 2007; 191: 106 - 112

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