Suicide can be a somewhat taboo subject, but it’s worth talking about because of the serious effect it has on society as a whole, with over 800,000 people dying of suicide each year around the world. Most people who commit suicide suffer from depression, which makes sense because depression is an issue that affects so many people worldwide.
If you’ve ever suffered from depression, you know that it can be incredibly difficult to escape. For some people, it’s one of the most difficult things they will ever deal with in their lives, and that can lead to suicide if left untreated. As such, it’s crucial to examine the countries with the highest suicide rates.
In fact, some countries have such high rates of suicide that they have been ranked as having the highest suicide rate in the world.
Read on to learn more about these 25 countries with the highest suicide rates in the world.
Poland – 16.6 (30.5 men – 3.8 women)
In Poland, suicide is the leading cause of death for people (aged between 25-65). For every 100,000 people in Poland, 16.6 commit suicide. Every hour, somebody dies by their own hand there–so many that it’s impossible to know the exact number anymore.
Polish people are killing themselves at alarming rates across all demographics: males and females, young and old, rich and poor alike. There has been an increase in suicide among women in every age group, while suicide among men remained unchanged in every age category.
Ukraine – 16.8 (30.3 men – 5.3 women)
In a list of the countries with the highest suicide rates in the world, Ukraine is also included. Recently, studies have shown that among Ukrainian men, suicide is the leading cause of death. Most of the suicides are attributed to personnel in the military where suicide accounts for up to 50% of all deaths.
One study found that suicides were related to economic hardship and unemployment. Other causes of high suicide rates include domestic violence, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse.
Comoros – 16.9 (24.0 men – 10.3 women)
Located between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, Comoros is one of numerous African countries where people often tend to take their own lives.
Due to a violent past full of civil wars and coups d´état, the country has been struggling with extreme poverty with about a half of its population living below the international poverty line.
Sudan – 17.2 (23.0 men – 11.5 women)
One of the largest African countries, Sudan is notorious for rampant ethnic strives, frequent human rights violation, an enormous crime and corruption rate and even slavery issues. With a legal system based on the Islamic Sharia Law, brutal methods such as stoning, flogging and crucifixion remain official and common punishments.
Therefore, it may come as no surprise that, on average, 23 men and 11 women out of 100,000 Sudanese decide to end their lives voluntarily.
Bhutan – 17.8 (23.1 men – 11.2 women)
Famous for promoting Gross National Happiness as a government policy, Bhutan is a country that most people wouldn’t expect on this list. However, with 23.1 men and 11.2 women out of 100,000 committing suicide, Bhutan has a somber representation.
It doesn’t help that the discussion of suicide and the means of tackling it are generally seen as a social taboo amongst the Bhutanese who mostly adhere to Tibetan Buddhism. Unfortunately, it’s often Bhutanese of Nepalese origin who significantly contribute to the regrettable statistic in this country.
Zimbabwe – 18.1 (27.2 men – 9.7 women)
Severely affected by the consequences of Mugabe´s racist and Marxist policies, Zimbabwe is another African country where people live extremely hard lives.
Tormented by hunger, HIV/AIDS infection and poverty, local people often find suicide as the only solution to their problems. Unfortunately, suicide attempts are nothing unusual even among their children and young students.
Belarus – 18.3 (32.7 men – 6.4 women)
In Belarus, an Eastern European country bordering Russia, about 2,000 people commit suicide every year, which is a higher number than that of road accident victims. In this country, the suicide occurrence is particularly high in rural areas and small towns.
There’s also a statistics showing that the number of suicides correlates with the increase of alcohol consumption.
Japan – 18.5 (26.9 men – 10.1 women)
The suicide rate in Japan has been unusually high for a long time. There are a variety of factors contributing to this, with depression and mental illness among the most likely. These factors are so strong that many people who are feeling suicidal do not seek help because they fear being stigmatized for having a mental disorder. Another factor that may be contributing to Japan’s high suicide rates is its aging population.
There are more than 30 percent of the population is over 65 living in Japan and some have suggested that this might also contribute to higher rates of suicide, as there are often financial concerns related to retirement and caring for elderly family members.
Hungary – 19.1 (32.4 men – 7.4 women)
It is no surprise that Hungary has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Hungarians have been dealing with a number of economic, social, and environmental problems since the transition to democracy in 1989. Poverty rates have increased steadily, unemployment has risen.
Basic resources are out of reach for almost half of Hungarians. This leads to a large number of suicides per year. Hungarians account for over 10% of all suicides committed on the European continenft.
Uganda – 19.5 (26.9 men – 12.3 women)
Although the economy and living standards in Uganda, a landlocked country in East Africa, is not as desperate as that of some other African countries, the occurrence of suicidal behavior is enormous. Depression, general stress, interpersonal problems, unemployment, poor housing and health conditions are among the most common reasons for local people to end their lives.
Russian federation – 19.5 (35.1 men – 6.2 women)
There has been a long-term social issue of suicide in Russia. The number of suicides per 100,000 has steadily declined. The current suicide rate per 100,000 is about 20. Men in Russia are especially prone to taking their own lives. Women have a much lower suicide rate.
Factors that contribute to Russia’s high rates include unemployment, alcoholism, depression, and substance abuse. Other countries on this list also struggle with these issues, but not as severely as Russia does.
Turkmenistan – 19.6 (32.5 men – 7.5 women)
In Turkmenistan, a Central Asian country, suicides account for 2% of the total number of deaths. The number of people who commit suicide is higher than that of road accidents victims or people dying of some types of cancer.
Although the country possesses large natural resources, its state-controlled economy is not efficient, causing extreme unemployment which is one of the major factors contributing to suicide.
South Sudan – 19.8 (27.1 men – 12.8 women)
About 2,000 people decide to voluntarily end their lives every ear in South Sudan, a Northeastern African country devastated by numerous internal conflicts and civil wars. According to WHO, displaced people, refugees, homeless, soldiers and war veterans are particularly vulnerable to suicide and there are many of such people in South Sudan.
India – 21.1 (25.8 men – 16.4 women)
The estimate of Indian suicides yearly varies widely, but one source might estimate the total to be around 200,000. There are several reasons why India has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. It is thought that discrimination against widows and young girls being married off to much older men can lead to feelings of worthlessness.
Another reason is that many people live in poverty with little hope for a better life, which can lead them to believe their lives have no meaning. There are also deep-rooted cultural beliefs that encourage people towards suicide.
Burundi – 23.1 (34.1 men – 12.5 women)
Located in Central Africa, Burundi is one of the poorest, hungriest and least developed countries in the world. Suffering from devastating warfare, corruption, hunger, poor access to education and totally insufficient health care, local people are prone to suicide.
Out of 100,000 Burundian, more than 23 take their lives each year. Men commit suicide almost three times more often than women.
Kazakhstan – 23.8 (40.6 men – 9.3 women)
Unsurprisingly, the suicide rate in Kazakhstan is one of the highest in the world. It has the highest number of suicides among girls/boys aged 15 to 19 in the world.
Based on a UNICEF study in five Kazakhstani cities, it seems that among the causes of suicide are social issues, family problems, and a lack of support. People who were interviewed said they had suicidal thoughts at least once.
Nepal – 24.9 (30.1 men – 20.0 women)
Nepal, a little mountainous country in South Asia, has regularly been ranking among the countries with the highest suicide rate but there has been a new, unfortunate trend in the suicidal behavior in this country.
In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of suicide attempts among Nepalese women with 20 women out of 100,000 people killing themselves.
United Republic of Tanzania – 24.9 (31.6 men – 18.3 women)
Many of Tanzania´s 45 million inhabitants suffer from various major problems including poverty, hunger, violence, lack of health care facilities, spread of HIV infection etc., which contributes to the very high suicide rate in this East African country.
Suicidal behavior is sadly frequent even among children and students who often try to take their lives due to family problems, stress, school failures and other reasons.
Mozambique – 27.4 (34.2 men – 21.1 women)
In Mozambique, a Southeast African country occupying over 800,000 square kilometers (310,000 square miles), more than 27 out of 100,000 local people decide to end their lives.
Lacking sufficient medical care, the Mozambicans have one of the shortest life expectancy in the world. HIV/AIDS and other diseases also contribute to the extremely high suicide rate in the country with over 3,000 people killing themselves every year here.
Suriname – 27.8 (44.5 men – 11.9 women)
Suriname is one of only two South American countries that have ranked in this sad statistic. Populated by just over 570,000 people, Surinam is the smallest country on the continent but its residents suffer from numerous major social as well as economical problems.
Poverty, domestic violence, alcohol misuse, high unemployment and other factors are among the reasons why more than 44 men and almost 12 women out of 100,000 Surinamese commit suicide every year.
Lithuania – 28.2 (51.0 men – 8.4 women)
While Lithuania has the most suicides in Europe per 100,000 people, it is also important to note that in many European countries suicide rates are declining.
There are several factors that contribute to suicide rates such as unemployment, alcohol consumption, psychological factors, and climate temperature. However, mental health problems such as depression and anxiety have been found to be one of the top causes of self-harm.
Sri Lanka – 28.8 (46.4 men – 12.8 women)
In Sri Lanka, the number of suicides has steadily been increasing without clear-cut cause. There has been a rise in the suicide rate among women due to domestic violence, depression, and sexual abuse.
Suicide and suicide attempts are highly influenced by distress and communication difficulties with family members in Sri Lanka. This spike in suicide rates is also believed to be a result of economic and social pressures such as poverty and unemployment.
South Korea – 28.9 (41.7 men – 18.0 women)
Boasting numerous world´s primacies including the fastest internet connection, super modern technologies, one of the world´s best education and health care etc., South Korea has a shockingly high suicide rate. All types of social pressure and family problems are the main causes of this phenomenon. Since access to firearms is restricted in South Korea, the most frequent suicide method is poisoning.
Democratic People´s Republic of Korea – 38.5 (45.4 men – 35.1 women)
As the Korean War came to a close in 1953, South Korea’s economy was booming. A golden age of economic development followed, with it becoming one of the world’s major manufacturing centers, but suicide rates also increased dramatically.
While there are many theories as to why this happened, one theory is that the stress of modernization led Koreans to feel estranged from themselves, their family and friends, and their communities.
Guyana – 44.2 (70.8 men – 22.1 women)
Guyana, a largely rural country at the northeastern edge of South America and home to about 740,000 people, has the highest suicide rate in the world, four times higher than the global average. Deep rural poverty, alcohol abuse and easy access to deadly pesticides seem to be the combination leading to the self-inflicted deaths of more than 44 out of 100,000 Guyanese every year.
Guyana is notorious for the ritual mass murder-suicide in which 909 people died in 1978 but the current suicide rate has nothing to do with death cults.