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Background: Low rates of suicide in older men and high rates in young women have been reported in the South Asian diaspora worldwide. Calculating such suicide rates in the UK is difficult because ethnicity is not recorded on death certificates. Aims: To calculate the South Asian origin population suicide rates and to assess changes over time using new technology. Method: Suicide rates in England and Wales were calculated using the South Asian Name and Group Recognition Algorithm (SANGRA) computer software. Results: The age-standardised suicide rate for men of South Asian origin was lower than other men in England and Wales, and the rate for women of South Asian origin was marginally raised. In aggregated data for 1999-2003 the age-specific suicide rate in young women of South Asian origin was lower than that for women in England and Wales. The suicide rate in those over 65 years was double that of England and Wales. Conclusions: Older, rather than younger, women of South Asian origin seem to be an at-risk group. Further research should investigate the reasons for these changes and whether these patterns are true for all South Asian origin groups.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Psychiatry

Publication Date





406 - 409