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Suicide occurs throughout the world, affecting individuals of all nations, cultures, religions, genders and classes. In fact, statistics show that the countries with the highest suicide rates in the world are incredibly diverse. |
For example, among the top five are the south Indian island nation of Sri Lanka (35.3 suicides per 100k), South Korea in east Asia (28.3 suicides per 100k) and the eastern European country of Lithuania (32.7 suicides per 100k). A number of other eastern European countries have high suicide rates, including Belarus, Poland and Latvia, all at around 22 suicides per 100k.
In contrast, the only western European nation with a particularly high suicide rate is Belgium, which ranks at number fifteen with 20.5 suicides per 100k. However, it is worth noting that Belgium has some of the world's most liberal laws on doctor-assisted suicide, which is likely to be a factor in its statistics. Interestingly, the country of Bhutan, which is famous for measuring Gross National Happiness, an index used to measure the collective happiness and wellbeing of its population, has a relatively high suicide rate at 11.7 per 100k.
Perhaps surprisingly, many of the most troubled nations in the world have comparatively low suicide rates. Afghanistan has 5.5 suicides per 100k, Iraq has three and Syria has just 2.7. It is not clear if the suicide statistics for these countries reflect suicides committed due to mental health problems and terminal illnesses (which are the primary reasons for suicide in most of the world), or if they also include suicides committed as part of the ongoing conflicts in these countries.
The lowest suicide rates in the world are concentrated in the Caribbean Islands of the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda. Suicide is almost unheard of in each of these countries, with Grenada and Barbados reporting 0.5 and 0.4 suicides per 100k, respectively.