Geography of Female Suicide: For Suicide Prevention Policy (Case of Turkey, in 2002-2011 Period)

Geography of Female Suicide: For Suicide Prevention Policy (Case of Turkey, in 2002-2011 Period)

Semra Günay (University of Anadolu, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6915-2.ch062


Suicide is a complex structure and also affects the families whose members commit suicide, health care professionals and society. Suicide is accepted as a form of death of external causes. It can be predicted and majority of suicides can be prevented. Suicide shows a big amount of differences depending on time, region, age level, gender and race. In order to understand and prevent suicide, several geographical, medical, psychosocial, cultural and socioeconomic factors have been studied. A tiny disorder in one of these factors may cause a significant change that results in severe outcomes. In preventing suicide, it is important to determine the subgroups that have high risk. Strategies to prevent suicide can be developed through searching and understanding the suicide geography. In this study, the spatial pattern of female suicide is examined with suicide maps. With suicide maps, it is aimed to clarify the spatial alteration of the deaths caused by female suicide, to help in focusing on female suicide, to increase the awareness of the specific regions and groups that have a high risk and to guide those who are dealing with decreasing the death ratios, public health experts and decision makers. In Turkey, according to the suicide rate averages of ten years (2002-2011), mostly the young age groups are at risk among women. The ratio of suicides caused by family incompatibility, educational failure and emotional relationship and not forced marriage is higher in females than in males. Turkey is a northern hemisphere country and features subtropical climate types, where females mostly commit suicide in summer and spring seasons. It is observed that there is no peak period in female suicide in Turkey. When the distribution of suicide based death ratios are examined, it is seen that the highest ratios are in the eastern and western parts of Turkey. It is seen that suicide occurs in the provinces with low socioeconomic status as well as the provinces with high socioeconomic status and in provinces with both a large population and a small population. And also it is determined that for those provinces, detailed studies should immediately be started. It is seen that the ratio of female suicide is getting higher and approaching to the ratio of male suicide from western parts to eastern parts of Turkey. Between these years, 75% of the suicides were committed by means of violent methods and 25% of them were committed by means of nonviolent methods. The provinces where the ratio of using violent suicide methods is higher than the standard deviation are located in the eastern part of the country. It is noteworthy that the ratio of female suicide victims who are single is close to the ratio of those who are married. The suicide ratio of married women is decreasing from west to east.
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Suicide is a major public health problem and suicidal tendency have widely range by time, region, age group, sex and race. Medical, psychosocial, cultural, and socio-economic risk factors and childhood experiences have been investigated to understand and prevent suicide. As a result of researches that biological, psychological aspects of suicide determined that socio-economic factors are important for the secular trend of suicide and understanding of socio-cultural structure is essential (Tsai & Cho 2011). Hjelmeland (2011) reported that since human beings are complicated, reflective, even biologically oriented researchers agree that on the crucial significance of environmental influences on biology. Hence, the sociocultural context is crucial in suicide research and prevention. Durkheim stated that suicide risk is related to social factors, such low income, unemployment and educational failure in the end of the 1800’s (1897). Recent studies related to suicide also reveal impact of socio-economic factors (Agerbo et al., 2011; Bedeian, 1982; Chang et al., 2010; Chuang & Huang 1996; Strand & Kunst, 2006; Prabha & Hugh, 1992; Whitley et al., 1999; Kuroki, 2010). Availability of insecticides and guns, work-related stress, financial problems, family incompatibility (Sharma,, 2007; Malmberg et al, 1997), alcohol addiction effects on suicide (Innamorati et al., 2010). The people who unmarried or have not children more take their own lives (Veevers, 1973; Tsai & Cho 2011). Exposuring to sexual and physical abuse, witnessing domestic violence, living separately with parents or living with disadvantages family members who commit crimes, substance abuse, mentally ill in childhood may be associated with suicidal behaviors in both young people and adults (Sharma et al., 2007). People are also committed suicide for religious purposes, for the sake of political objectives and wars (Bosnar,, 2006; Smith & Frueh, 2013).

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