Is Suicide a Question Of Social Standing? Elderly Suicide Rates In Cosmopolitan Berlin
We argue that the reported suicide statistics in the Berlin Health Report require a closer inspection because the age groups and zones used in reporting are not sensitive enough to provide a robust picture of the articulation of social status and suicide. For example, in 2009 the Berlin health report suggested that there was no relationship between elderly suicide and social status. We will introduce our comparative study which aims to test whether there is indeed no correlation between elderly suicide and districts when (a.) more comprehensive data from coroner statistics is being deployed and whether there is indeed no correlation between elderly suicide and specific spatial areas when (b.) more comprehensive data from smaller heterogeneous urban zones beneath the district level are being accounted for.
The identification of these zones or socially weak areas is based on the research of the working group "Monitoring Soziale Stadtentwicklung" in Berlin. They aim to describe and analyse the socio-structural transformation of parts of the city and different districts through a statistical indicator system. Their very precise development index for smaller spatial areas was correlated with the comprehensive coroner data we collected. We detected a strong correlation between social status and elderly suicide. This suggests that incorporating the legal and medical records from the coroner and altering the definition of a municipal district to capture this fine level of detail establishes a real and concerning trend.