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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to calculate the rate of suicide in different religious groups in people of South Asian origin in the UK. Design/methodology/approach – A cross-sectional, secondary analysis of a national data set. A name recognition algorithm was used to identify people of South Asian origin and their religion. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated using this data and data from the national census. Setting: a population study of all those who died by suicide in England and Wales in 2001. Participants: all cases of suicide and undetermined intent identified by the Office for National Statistics for England and Wales. Findings – There were 4,848 suicides in the UK in 2001 of which 125 (2.6 percent) were identified as people of South Asian origin by the algorithm. The suicide rate for all people of South Asian origin was 5.50/100,000 compared to 9.31/100,000 for the population of England and Wales. The age SMR for those whose names were of Hindu, Muslim or Sikh origin were 0.88, 0.47 and 0.85, respectively. Female South Asians have lower rates of suicide, than their South Asian male counterparts. Research limitations/implications – Religious classification by the computerized program does not guarantee religious affiliation. The data set were confined to one year because religion was not collected prior to the 2001 census. Originality/value – The rates of suicide for South Asian sub-populations in the UK differ by gender and religion.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare

Publication Date





260 - 266