Spatial–temporal analysis of suicide clusters for suicide prevention in Hong Kong: a territory-wide study using 2014–2018 Hong Kong Coroner's Court reports

Cheuk Yui Yeung, Vera Yu Men, Yingqi Guo, Paul Siu Fai Yip*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study aimed to (i) identify high-risk suicide-methods clusters, based on location of residence and suicide incidence; and (ii) compare the characteristics of cases and spatial units inside and outside clusters. 

Methods: Suicide data of 4672 cases was obtained from the Coroner's Court reports in Hong Kong (2014–2018). Monthly aggregated suicide numbers based on location of residence, and suicide incidence, were obtained in small tertiary planning units (STPUs). Community-level characteristics and population of STPUs were retrieved from 2016 Census. Retrospective space-time analyses were performed to identify locations with elevated suicide rates over specific time periods, i.e., spatial–temporal clusters. Clusters were evaluated for overall suicide (any method), as well as jumping, hanging, and charcoal burning methods, in location of residence and suicide incidence. Bi-variate analysis was performed to compare the characteristics of cases, and spatial units, inside and outside the clusters. 

Findings: Suicide clusters involving jumping and charcoal burning were identified, but no hanging clusters were found. The within-cluster distribution of types of housing was different from that of outside. For most of the overall suicide and suicide by jumping clusters, spatial units within the clusters were more socially disadvantaged compared to those outside.

Interpretation: Clusters varied by suicide methods, location of residence and location of incidence. The findings highlighted the need for consistent and concerted support from different stakeholders within suicide clusters, to ensure appropriate design, implementation and sustainability of effective suicide prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100820
Number of pages10
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific
Early online date22 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Infectious Diseases

User-Defined Keywords

  • Spatial analysis
  • Spatio-temporal analysis
  • Suicide
  • Suicide cluster
  • Suicide prevention


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