This research aims to describe trends in inequalities in suicide mortality by educational level in Colombia between 1998 and 2015.
Standardized suicide mortality rates (SMR) were calculated by educational level, sex, and age in adult men and women over 25 years of age. Poisson regression models were used to calculate the RR (rate ratio) with those highly educated as a reference, and the RII (relative index of inequality).
The number of reported deaths by suicide between 1998 and 2015 was 24,654, of which 84.7% were men. By age-group, 48.5% of suicides were among young adult men and women (25–44). Men had higher suicide rates than women (SMR men = 10.44/100,000; SMR women = 1.72/100,000). The age-standardized mortality rates (SMR) were higher in the groups with the lowest educational level in both sexes and all age-groups, except for senior adult women (65+). Broadly, while SMR reduced throughout most of the period, inequalities grew.
We found that the educational inequities associated with suicide in Colombia grew slightly. This suggests the need to work on suicide prevention strategies that go beyond the individual risk factors. Socioeconomic issues need to be considered as a key tool to prevent suicide by improving peoples’ quality of life and their mental health.