Is Forecasting Future Suicide Rates Possible? - Application of the Experience Curve
Many OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries have implemented national suicide prevention strategies. An accurate forecast of future suicide rate, if available, will be useful for planning and evaluation of a suicide prevention strategy. Therefore, we have developed a simple forecasting model of suicide rate for 15 OECD countries. We use the experience curve model with the data from 1960 to 2005 to forecast suicide rate for each of the 15 countries. In the experience curve analysis, the independent variable is the cumulative population size and the dependent variable is suicide rate for each country. For the 15 countries, the application of the experience curve generates the averaged experience slope of 61.2%, implying a reduction of 38.8% in suicide rate as the cumulative population size is doubled. Using the estimated experienced equation, we forecast both suicide rate and the number of deaths from suicide in years 2010, 2020 and 2030 for each of the 15 countries. The use of the experience curve generates long-term future suicide rate which may be useful input in developing a national prevention strategy.
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