The indicator measures the number of deaths that result from suicide per 100 000 inhabitants. The World Health Organization defines suicide as an act deliberately initiated and performed by a person in the full knowledge or expectation of its fatal outcome. Data on causes of death (COD) refer to the underlying cause which - according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) - is "the disease or injury which initiated the train of morbid events leading directly to death, or the circumstances of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury". COD data are derived from death certificates. The medical certification of death is an obligation in all Member States. The data are presented as standardised death rates, meaning they are adjusted to a standard age distribution in order to measure death rates independently of different age structures of populations. This approach improves comparability over time and between countries. The standardised death rates used here are calculated on the basis of a standard European population. The number of suicides in certain countries may be under-reported because of the stigma associated with the act for religious, cultural or other reasons. The comparability of suicide data between countries is also affected by a number of reporting criteria, including how a person’s intention of killing him- or herself is ascertained or who is responsible for completing the death certificate.
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Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union
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