World News — Suicide is a serious global public health issue that claims the lives of millions of people every year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide, with approximately 800,000 deaths annually. While it’s a complex phenomenon that results from various factors, including mental illness, financial hardship, relationship breakdowns, and substance abuse, suicide is preventable.
As of 2023, the following are the top 10 countries with the highest rates of suicide per 100,000 people:
1. Lesotho – 72.4
2. Guyana – 40.3
3. Eswatini – 29.4
4. South Korea – 28.6
5. Kiribati – 28.3
6. Micronesia – 28.2
7. Lithuania – 26.1
8. Suriname – 25.4
9. Russia – 25.1
10. South Africa – 23.5
Ten Reasons Why People Commit Suicide
Suicide is a complex issue, and there are many potential reasons why someone may choose to end their life. Here are ten of the most common risk factors that can contribute to suicidal behavior:
1. Depression and other mental illnesses
Depression is one of the most significant risk factors for suicide. People who suffer from depression often feel hopeless, helpless, and overwhelmed by their emotions. Other mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, can also increase the risk of suicide.
2. Substance abuse
Alcohol and drug abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems, which, in turn, can contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
3. Relationship breakdowns
Divorce, separation, and other related problems can be incredibly distressing for some people, leading them to feel like suicide is their only way out.
4. Financial difficulties
Money worries, poverty, and job loss can all cause significant stress and anxiety, making it difficult for individuals to see a way out of their situation.
5. Chronic illness or pain
Living with chronic illness or chronic pain can be incredibly challenging, both physically and emotionally. For some people, the pain becomes too much to bear, and suicide feels like the only option.
6. Trauma or abuse
Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can cause deep-seated psychological scars that make life seem unbearable. Traumatic events, such as war, natural disasters, or accidents, can also contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
7. Major life changes
Adjusting to significant life changes, such as retirement, children leaving home, or moving to a new city, can be difficult and overwhelming for some people.
Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to mental illness and suicidal behavior.
9. Social isolation
Loneliness and social isolation have been linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems, which can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
10. Stigma surrounding mental health
The stigma surrounding mental health can prevent people from seeking help when they need it most. This lack of support can exacerbate feelings of hopelessness and despair and increase the risk of suicide.
While these factors can increase the risk of suicide, it’s essential to remember that everyone’s experience is unique. People who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings should seek help from a mental health professional or crisis helpline as soon as possible.
The Countries with the Lowest Suicide Rates
On the other end of the spectrum, there are several countries with the lowest suicide rates globally. Antigua and Barbuda, for instance, have the lowest suicide rate, with only 0.4 suicides per 100,000 people. Barbados and Grenada follow closely behind, with 0.6 and 0.7 suicides per 100,000 people, respectively. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Jordan, Syria, Venezuela, Honduras, and the Philippines also have low suicide rates.
The reasons for these low suicide rates may vary from one country to another. For example, in Jordan, there is a strong support system for individuals who are struggling with mental illness. The government has set up a hotline that provides free counseling services to individuals who feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges. In the Philippines, on the other hand, a sense of community and family bonding plays a significant role in reducing suicidal behavior.
While several countries still struggle with high suicide rates, others have made significant progress in addressing this critical health issue. By understanding the common risk factors associated with suicidal behavior and working towards destigmatizing mental health problems, we can all play a role in reducing suicide rates globally.