The geographical distribution of suicides in farmers in England and Wales.
Hawton K., Fagg J., Simkin S., Harriss L., Malmberg A., Smith D.
Farmers in England and Wales have an elevated risk of suicide. The aim of this study was to investigate the geographical distribution of suicides in farmers. Rates of suicide (including suicide and open verdicts) of farmers in England and Wales between 1981 and 1993 were calculated on a county basis. Trends in rates and differences in rates between counties, regions and England and Wales were then analysed. There were 719 suicides (634 suicide verdicts and 85 open verdicts). There was evidence of a decline in annual rates of suicide in farmers during the study period in England but not Wales. There was no evidence of geographical heterogeneity of farming suicides according to counties, but a relatively high rate for Devon (N = 62 suicides). County farming suicide rates did not appear to be related to local general population suicide rates, density of farmers or type of farm holding. While identification of counties with relatively large numbers of farming suicides should assist targeting of local preventive programmes, it is clear that any significant prevention strategies should be implemented on a national basis.