Suicide and suicide prevention in Sweden
Suicide is a public health concern, and the Public Health Agency's role in preventing suicide is to coordinate efforts on a national level. We are also responsible for monitoring, developing and disseminating knowledge to prevent suicide.
In 2018, a total of 1,259 people aged 15 or older died as a result of suicide in Sweden. The national suicide rate, i.e. the number of suicides per 100,000 inhabitants aged 15 and older, was 15 that year. Of the deceased, 70 percent were men. The suicide rate was highest in the age group 85 years and older, and lowest among those aged 15–29 years.
Development over time
Between 2006 and 2018, the suicide rate in Sweden among men aged 45–64 decreased while among women aged 15–29 it increased. In all other age groups, however, no statistically significant changes occurred during this time period.
Number of suicides per 100,000 persons in Sweden, presented in different age groups, for the time period 2006–2018.
Suicide rates in different groups
Among persons aged 85 years and older in Sweden, the suicide rate was 21 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2018, while in the age group 15–29 years the suicide rate was 13. In terms of the total number of suicides, the picture is different, since the oldest age group contains significantly fewer individuals compared to other age groups in the population. The highest number of suicides was found in the age group 45–64 years, 427, and the lowest among persons 85 years and older, 56. In the age group 15–29 years old, the number of suicides was 246. Of all deaths in the younger age group, 31 percent were caused by suicide, which was a higher proportion compared to the other age groups.
Persons with pre-secondary education had higher suicide rates than other educational groups. When suicide rates were compared by country of birth, the highest rate was found among people born in the other Nordic countries, 24/100,000 deaths. For those born in a country in other parts of Europe, the suicide rate was 13, while the lowest rate of suicide was found among those born outside Europe, 6.5.
The suicide rate in Sweden also varies significantly in different geographic areas, with higher rates in rural areas compared to urban areas. On a county level, the average suicide rate during the years 2014–2018 varied between a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 19 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
Do you or someone you know need help?
If you or someone you know is in acute need of psychiatric help, dial the SOS emergency number in Sweden, 112. In a non-emergency situation, you can call Sweden's national health hotline 1177 for information about illnesses and about where to find your nearest healthcare centre. For more information visit 1177.se.
There is also a suicide prevention hotline providing support for those who have suicidal thoughts or have a loved one with such thoughts. You reach them at 90101 or chat or email.