Year: 2009 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, v.39, no.1, (February 2009), p.72-81 SIEC No: 20090310

Current knowledge of suicidal behavior in the Western Pacific region is relatively limited when compared to other areas of the world. This area is characterized by a wide diversity of social, economic, and cultural aspects that do not permit any homogenous reading of suicide phenomena. Data from countries of the region included in this article suggest the existence of important differences among nations in terms of gender, age, and methods of suicide, as well role of mental illness. In addition, the Western Pacific region appears to be affected by higher rates of suicide than other areas in the world, with signs of progressive worsening in recent years and worrying predictions for the next two decades. The Suicide Trends in At-Risk Territories (START) Study, initiated by the World Health Organization Regional Office in Manila, seeks to research the incidence of both fatal and nonfatal suicidal behavior in countries of the region and to implement interventions for suicide attempters. This ambitious project is expected to standardize data collection procedures and improve the knowledge cultural factors in suicide.