Recent Trends in Suicides Utilizing Helium

  title={Recent Trends in Suicides Utilizing Helium},
  author={Amy E. Austin and Calle Winskog and Corinna van den Heuvel and Roger W. Byard},
  journal={Journal of Forensic Sciences},
Abstract:  Retrospective review of cases of suicide involving helium inhalation was undertaken at Forensic Science South Australia over a 25‐year period from 1985 to 2009. No cases of helium‐related suicides were identified in the first 15 years of the study, with one case between 2000 and 2004 and eight cases between 2005 and 2009. Australian data were also reviewed from 2001 to 2009 that showed 30 cases between January 2001 and June 2005, compared to 79 cases between July 2005 and December… 

Changing trends in suicides using helium or nitrogen

  • R. Byard
  • Environmental Science
    International Journal of Legal Medicine
  • 2019
The increase in suicides due to nitrogen inhalation has shown the importance of closely monitoring trends in suicide methods as significant changes may develop quite rapidly, with more recently favored methods not lending themselves to laboratory analysis.

Changing trends in suicides using helium or nitrogen - A 15-year study.

  • R. Byard
  • Medicine
    Journal of forensic and legal medicine
  • 2018

Further observations on plastic bag asphyxia using helium gas

The study has shown that helium suicides in South Australia are still increasing, with a doubling of the numbers in the period 2010–2014 compared with 2005–2009 and the rate of increase of these deaths is noteworthy.

Physician Suicide

Access to drugs should therefore be carefully monitored in physicians with histories of depression and/or substance abuse, and the methods of self‐destruction contrasted with the general population where hanging, carbon monoxide poisoning, and gunshot wounds are more common.

Prison Suicides in South Australia: 1996–2010

Given that suicide in state prisons currently occurs at a rate approximately eight times that of the general South Australian community, it appears that the subset of incarcerated individuals represents a group in need of effective preventive strategies to enable more appropriate provisions of existing prisoner resources.

How common are suicides using nitrous oxide?

Analysis of autopsy cases of suicide from Forensic Science South Australia files revealed that only 2/58 (3.5%) cases utilised nitrous oxide; the remainder of cases had used helium or nitrogen; the relative ease with which helium and nitrogen cylinders containing large amounts of gas can be obtained may explain the low numbers of suicides utilised.

A Brief Analysis of Suicide Methods and Trends in Virginia from 2003 to 2012

There has been a rise in suicide in Virginia and suicide rates and trends have closely resembled the national average albeit some differences, and suicide prevention needs to be enhanced.



Inhalant Deaths in South Australia: A 20-Year Retrospective Autopsy Study

The study has shown that those most at risk for accidental or suicidal inhalant deaths were young males, with 92% of victims overall being male, and with 77% of Victims being under 31 years of age.

Characteristic Features of Pediatric Firearm Fatalities—Comparisons Between Australia and the United States

There were markedly more accidents and suicides involving males in Adelaide and a far higher number of male homicide victims in San Diego County compared to females and rifles of 0.22‐caliber were preferred weapons in South Australia, compared to handguns inSan Diego County.

Early adolescent suicide: a comparative study.

Suicides in adolescents under the age of 17 years in both populations were, however, rare, with no demonstrable increase in numbers over the time of the study.

Temporal trends over the past two decades in asphyxial deaths in South Australia involving plastic bags or wrapping.

Suicide with inert gases: addendum to Final Exit.

7 fatalities are reported throughout an 18-month period involving plastic bag suffocation in conjunction with helium use, and these fatalities coincide with publication of an update to a popular right-to-die text in which this method is described.

Asphyxial Suicide with Helium and a Plastic Bag

A suicide performed according to this new and highly lethal technique, which is also a potentially undetectable cause of death, is reported.

A review of suicide statistics in Australia

This report examines in detail the current methodologies used to track suicide rates, identifying issues with the process of suicide reporting and the extent of, and reason for, any under-enumeration of suicide.

Asphyxial suicide by inhalation of helium inside a plastic bag.

A 64-year-old man probably followed the instructions described in an article about committing suicide written by a medical practitioner from Zürich and inhaling the inert gas helium inside a plastic bag to commit suicide.

Suicidal Behavior by Motor Vehicle Collision

The study gives a rare insight into driver suicide plans and attempts, via a large-scale community survey, to provide the best opportunity of collecting unbiased data on the driver suicide behavior.


The compulsion to use technology to cause death, the "technological imperative," has emerged as part of underground care of dying persons and raises serious challenges to the health care professions, legislators, and policy makers.