By Meagan Weiland, Nirja Desai
Aug. 23, 2019 , 12:00 PM
Suicide is a worldwide problem, but its effects are uneven. Although suicide rates—all rates noted here are annual deaths per 100,000 people—are rising in some countries, including the United States, most countries are seeing declines, for reasons that include restrictions on access to lethal means and improved mental health care. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most countries do not collect detailed data on suicide; data for many countries here were drawn from rates estimated by organizations such as WHO and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease project.
A changing map Suicide rates have fallen in countries shaded green and blue, with drops of up to nearly 48 deaths per 100,000 people since 1990. In other countries, colored yellow and red, the rate has jumped by as much as 10 deaths per 100,000. The 2017 rate is specified on some countries.1.819.4RateLowScoreHighTotal deathsSuicideHomicideWar/legal interventionAccidentalUndetermined intentBrady scoreRates for women and men, 2017 Rates of suicide by firearm, 2017Rates for youths, 201739,7733020100Urban centersSuburbsMedium Small countyNon-metropolitan countyMenWomen11.40.1Increase in rateThe United States is one of the world’s outliers, with suicide rates climbing since the early 2000s. Every state has seen a rise but some, such as California and New York, have lower rates and more modest increases.A nation’s strugglesIn 2017, 51% of suicides in the United States were by firearm, making it by far the most common suicide method. The Brady Campaign, a nonprofit that advocates for gun control, scores states based on gun safety laws such as background checks, carry qualifications, and permit requirements, as well as other factors. States with lower Brady scores often have a higher rate of suicide deaths by gun.The hazards of gunsGlobal differencesMore than 57% of gun fatalities in the United States in 2017 were suicides, nearly 24,000 people.Suicide rates are especially high in some Eastern European and African countries, and strikingly low in parts of the Middle East and Indonesia. Compared with other age groups, suicides among young people are rare. Globally, men are far more likely to die by suicide than women.Gun deaths in the United StatesGeography and genderChange over time, 2000–2017MexicoGreenlandMauritiusChange over time,1990–2017IndiaMen in U.S. rural areas have a suicide rate as high as 31 per 100,000, more than double the national average.The suiciderate in Mexicois low compared with the global average, but has been increasingsince 1990.AlthoughGreenland’s rate has decreaseddramatically, it remains the highest in the world.Mauritius, part of the African continent, is the only sub-Saharan country that consistently recordsand reports suicide rates.Even though its overall suicide rate has decreased, India accounts for more than 35% of female suicide deaths worldwide.10,000 to 50,000250,000 to 1 millionMore than 1 million More than 1 million peopleLess than 250,000AustraliaBelarusBelgiumBrazilCanadaChileDenmarkEstoniaFranceGermanyIcelandIsraelJapanKazakhstanKuwaitLithuaniaMacedoniaMauritiusMexicoNetherlandsNorwayPanamaPhilippinesRussiaSouth KoreaSpainSurinameSwitzerlandUkraineUnited KingdomUnited States52000Deaths per 100,000406010152015- to 19-year-olds10- to 14-year-oldsMenWomenGreenland (51.1)Lesotho (31.7)Lithuania (28.0)Zimbabwe (26.4)Kiribati (26.4)Kuwait (2.5)Antigua and Barbuda (2.7)Oman (2.9)Saudi Arabia (3.0)Syria (3.1)220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.4.5.Countries with the highest ratesCountries with the lowest ratesGuyana (26.1)Ukraine (25.6)Russia (25.1)Suriname (24.8)Papua New Guinea (23.1)Tunisia (3.1)Indonesia (3.1)Peru (3.1)The Bahamas (3.2)Jordan (3.2)22.214.171.124.10.6.7.8.126.96.36.199–48100Countries with a suicide rateabove the global average (10.5)
Around the world, 2017 Suicide rates in 2017, the most recent year for which data are available, range considerably. Greenland has the highest rate in the world but is also seeing the most rapid improvement. Data here come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease project. CREDITS: (GRAPHICS) N. DESAI/
SCIENCE; (DATA) GLOBAL BURDEN OF DISEASE COLLABORATIVE NETWORK, GLOBAL BURDEN OF DISEASE STUDY, 2017; WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION GLOBAL HEALTH OBSERVATORY, 2016; THE BRADY CAMPAIGN STATE SCORECARD, 2015; CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION WONDER
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For help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or visit https://www.speakingofsuicide.com/resources.
Source: Science Mag