Year: 2020 Source: Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. (2010). 31(5), 227–230. SIEC No: 20200827

Relatively few countries credibly count their dead. Thus, differential sophistication as well as sociopolitical and economic support of healthcare and systems to investigate deaths inevitably leave a large gulf between richer and poorer countries in accurately registering manner and cause of death. And when suicide is in question, the variable stigma of self-harm combined with limited resources for conducting forensic death investigations likely produce large registration gaps among richer nations as well. In higher-income democratic countries, and probably in most other countries too, logic strongly suggests that suicide misclassification is overwhelmingly one-way. False negativity (i.e., undercounting) appears far more problematic for suicide etiology and prevention than false positivity. This editorial discusses issues related to the documentation of suicide, both in highly developed and less developed countries, including suicide data reliability and validity and the importance of awareness of suicide as a public health problem. As the capacity for measuring, characterizing, and disseminating the true dimensions of this universal tragedy improves, so will the prospects for securing more adequate funding for research and prevention.