Year: 2020 Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry. (2020). 10, 898. SIEC No: 20200780

Suicide represents a major challenge to public mental health. In order to provide empirical evidence for prevention strategies, we hypothesized current levels of low socioeconomic status (SES) and high social isolation (SI) to be linked to increased suicide rates in N = 390 administrative districts since SES and SI are associated with mental illness. Effects of SES on suicide rates were further expected to be especially pronounced in districts with individuals showing high SI levels as SI reduces the reception of social support and moderates the impact of low SES on poor mental health. We linked German Microcensus data to register data on all 149,033 German suicides between 1997 and 2010 and estimated Prentice and Sheppard’s model for aggregate data to test the hypotheses, accounting for spatial effect correlations. The findings reveal increases in district suicide rates by 1.20% (p < 0.035) for 1% increases of district unemployment, suicide rate decreases of −0.39% (p < 0.028) for 1% increases in incomes, increases of 1.65% (p < 0.033) in suicides for 1% increases in one-person-households and increases in suicide rates of 0.54% (p < 0.036) for 1% decreases in single persons’ incomes as well as suicide rate increases of 3.52% (p < 0.000) for 1% increases in CASMIN scores of individuals who moved throughout the year preceding suicide. The results represent appropriate starting points for the development of suicide prevention strategies. For the definition of more precise measures, future work should focus on the causal mechanisms resulting in suicidality incorporating individual level data.