Suicidal behavior in the Mexican National Comorbidity Survey (M-NCS): Lifetime and 12-month prevalence, psychiatric factors and service utilization

Guilherme Borges, Holly C. Wilcox, Maria Elena Medina-Mora, Joaquín Zambrano, Jerónimo Blanco, Ellen Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Nationally representative data from Mexico are presented on the lifetime and 12-month prevalence of the onset of suicide ideation, suicide plans and suicide attempt, as well as associated DSM-IV psychiatric disorders and service utilization. Methods: Data are from the Mexican National Comorbidity Survey (M-NCS). This population survey was carried out in 2001-2003 in a sample of 5,782 respondents of 18 years and older. Onset of ideation, a plan, and suicide attempt, as well as psychiatric and service use correlates were estimated using survival analysis. Results: Of the respondents, 8.3% reported lifetime ideation, 3.2% reported a lifetime plan and 2.8% reported lifetime suicide attempt(s). The prevalence for 12-month suicidal behaviors was 2.3%, 1.0% and 0.6%, respectively. Suicidal behaviors were more prevalent in early adolescence and early adulthood and became less common after the mid-thirties, with the exception of suicidal ideation that continues into older ages. Having met criteria for one or more of the DSM-IV disorders assessed in the survey was common among suicide ideators (60.9%), planners (75.6%) and attempters (74.6%), and was a strong risk factor for suicidal behaviors, with odds ratios of 4.8 for ideation, 10.2 for plan and 9.6 for attempt. Approximately one of every four lifetime attempters reported to have ever seen a psychiatrist. Conclusions: As in many other countries, mental disorders have an important impact on suicidal behaviors in Mexico. Intervention efforts aimed at identifying and treating persons at or before the onset of suicidal ideation is strongly recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalSalud Mental
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Epidemiology
  • Psychiatric disorder
  • Risk factors
  • Suicide
  • Suicide attempt
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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