April 13, 2024


 According to a feature on suicide in the Economist, the global suicide rate has risen by 60% over the past 45 years, with about one million people killing themselves each year. However, it is exceedingly difficult to generalise about suicide, as the pattern varies markedly from country to country. In India, much publicity has been given to suicides by farmers — 17,000 died by their own hand in 2003 alone. But in India’s suicide capital, Bengalooru (Bangalore), most are skilled workers. In China, more women kill themselves than men, unlike most other countries.

In recent years the internet has made it easier for potential suicides to plan their demise. The first recorded case of using it to make a suicide pact took place in 2000 in Japan. Since then hundreds have done so, from Norway to Spain.

The Economist commends measures to make it harder for people to kill themselves, from barriers in front of trains in Korea, to policing the web in Australia, to limiting the use of paracetamol, which can be lethal in large quantities, in the UK. These can "save the lives of many who are confused, temporarily depressed or in need of sympathetic attention".