New study: Characteristics of Railway Suicides in Canada by C. Bardon and B.L. Mishara

Mishara, B. L., & Bardon, C. (2017). Characteristics of railway suicides in Canada and comparison with accidental railway fatalities: Implications for prevention. Safety Science, 91, 251-259.

Abstract: This study presents and compares the prevalence and characteristics of rail-related suicide and other railway fatalities in Canada over 10years, from 1999 to 2008. The methodology involved in-depth data analysis of records from provincial coroner and medical examiner’s investigations, railway company reports and Transportation Safety Board data. We identify physical risk factors and psychosocial descriptions of people who commit suicide and compared them to accidental (non-suicide) railway fatalities in order to identify at-risk populations and better target and elaborate railway suicide prevention strategies. We identified 460 accidental deaths and 428 suicides. Most people (94.7%) died on the site of the incident, although not always immediately. Canada does not have any specific locations with high incidence suicide or accidents clusters. We conclude that impairment of some type, by illness, substance abuse or intoxication, advanced age or immature youth, play an important role in a significant number of accidents, suggesting that more intense warnings of approaching trains may help prevent accidental deaths. Mental illness, although often being treated, is associated with the majority of suicide fatalities, and more than one-third of suicides occur on rails near psychiatric facilities, suggesting targeted prevention strategies in facilities near rails and at track locations in proximity to mental health facilities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

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