Self-burning – A rare suicide method in switzerland and other industrialised nations – A review

Gauthier, Saskia; Reisch, Thomas; Bartsch, Christine (2014). Self-burning – A rare suicide method in switzerland and other industrialised nations – A review. Burns, 40(8), pp. 1720-1726. Elsevier 10.1016/j.burns.2014.02.007

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News items reporting self-immolation by Tibetans have been on the increase in recent years. After examining the corpse of a Swiss man who had committed suicide by deliberate self-burning, we wondered how often this occurs in Switzerland. The Federal Statistics Office (FSO) does not register self-burning specifically so no official national data on this form of suicide are available. However, we had access to the data from a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) project Suicides in Switzerland between 2000 and 2010, which collected information on all (4885) cases of suicide investigated by the various institutes of forensic medicine. From this data pool we extracted 50 cases (1.02%) of suicide by selfburning, in order to determine the details and to identify the possible reasons for choosing this method. To look at our results in the light of studies from other countries, we searched the literature for studies that had also retrospectively examined suicide by self-immolation based on forensic records. Our results showed that, on the whole, personal aspects of selfburning in Switzerland do not differ from those in other industrialised nations. Some data, including religious and sociocultural background, were unfortunately missing – not only from our study but also from the similar ones. In our opinion, the most important prevention strategy is to make healthcare professionals more aware of this rare method of suicide.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Management
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services

UniBE Contributor:

Reisch, Thomas

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

0305-4179

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Prof. Thomas Reisch

Date Deposited:

02 Mar 2015 12:08

Last Modified:

24 Nov 2015 10:34

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.burns.2014.02.007

PubMed ID:

24794228

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.63653

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/63653

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