The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 11 April 2022

Suicide and suicide prevention in Sweden

Suicide is a public health concern, and the Public Health Agency's role in preventing suicide is to coordinate efforts on a national level. We are also responsible for monitoring, developing and disseminating knowledge to prevent suicide.

In 2020, a total of 1,168 people died as a result of suicide in Sweden. The national suicide rate, i.e. the number of suicides per 100,000 inhabitants aged 15 and older, was 14 that year. Of the deceased, 70 percent were men. The suicide rate was highest in the age group 85 years and older, and lowest among those aged 30–44 years.

Development over time

Between 1997 and 2020, the suicide rate in Sweden decreased among all age groups except the youngest (15–29 years). The suicide rate for the oldest age group fluctuates from year to year due to the small number of cases.

Number of suicides per 100,000 persons in Sweden, presented in different age groups, for the time period 1997–2020.

Number of suicides per 100,000 persons in Sweden, presented in different age groups, for the time period 2007–2020

Suicide rates in different groups

Among persons aged 85 years and older in Sweden, the suicide rate was 44 among men and almost 4 among women in 2020, while in the age group 15–29 years the suicide rate was almost 18 among men and 7 among women. In terms of the total number of suicides, the picture is different, since the oldest age group contains significantly fewer individuals compared to other age groups in the population. The highest number of suicides was found in the age group 45–64 years, 407, and the lowest among persons 85 years and older, 48. In the age group 15–29 years old, the number of suicides was 232. Of all deaths in the younger age group, about 30 percent were caused by suicide, which was a higher proportion compared to the other age groups.

Persons with pre-secondary education had higher suicide rates than other educational groups. The suicide rate in Sweden also varies significantly in different geographic areas, with higher rates in rural areas compared to urban areas.

Others working with suicide prevention in Sweden

Do you or someone you know need help?

If you or someone you know is in acute need of psychiatric help, dial the SOS emergency number in Sweden, 112. In a non-emergency situation, you can call Sweden's national health hotline 1177 for information about illnesses and about where to find your nearest healthcare centre. For more information visit 1177.se

There is also a suicide prevention hotline providing support for those who have suicidal thoughts or have a loved one with such thoughts. You reach them at 90101 or chat or email.