WHO: Belarus Among Top 3 European States With Highest Suicide Rates

One person takes his own life every 40 seconds, the World Health Organization reports. Belarus is one of the top three European states with the highest suicide rates per capita.

New data shows that close to 800, 000 people die due to suicide every year. This is more than those lost to malaria, breast cancer, or war and homicide. For each adult who died by suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide.

“Suicide is a global public health issue. All ages, sexes and regions of the world are affected (and) each loss is one too many,” the WHO’s report reads.

Meanwhile, only 38 countries out of 183 WHO members have suicide prevention strategies.

Global rates have fallen in recent years – with a 9.8% decrease between 2010 and 2016, but declines were patchy. Suicide rates were higher than the global average –10.5 per 100,000 – in Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia.

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Globally, men are far more likely to die by suicide than women, with 7.5 suicide deaths and 13.7 suicides per 100,000. Also, nearly three times as many men as women die by suicide in wealthy countries, while in low- and middle-income countries, the rates are more equal.

Suicide was the second-leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years, after road injury. To bring down the global suicide rate WHO urges to limit access to pesticides, which along with hanging and firearms are the most common method of suicide.

Russia, Lithuania, Belarus

Europe is disproportionately affected, with an average of 13 per 100,000 people dying by suicide in 2016. However, there are wide disparities across the continent.

Picture: WHO report

The worst-hit countries with rates more than double the global average were Russia (26.5 per 100,000), Lithuania (25.7 per 100,000) and Belarus (21.4 per 100,000).

Greece and Finland both recorded 3.8 suicide deaths per 100,000 population in 2016 — the lowest rate on the continent. Cyprus and Italy rounded out the bottom three with respective rates of 4.5 and 5.5 per 100,000.

Belgium, France, and Ireland have the highest suicide rates in western Europe, with rates of 15.7, 12.1 and 10.9 per 100,000 respectively.