Why people commit suicide

by Elia Strange

According to the World Health Organisation, the suicide rate has increased by 60% worldwide, and it is predicted that by 2020 every 20 seconds someone in the world will commit suicide.

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Interestingly, suicide is predominantly ‘white’ phenomenon. In the US, for example, white Americans are more likely to resort to suicide than do most minority groups, including African Americans and Hispanics.

And the highest suicide rate is currently in Eastern Europe, particularly Lithuania (Wikipedia), whereas the lowest ones are in the Caribbean islands and Haiti.

RISK FACTORS (or who is more likely to do it):

1) If a family member committed suicide, then there is an increased risk that someone else in the family will also. This may happen because of a genetic predisposition to depression and suicide, and not just because of adopting a ‘familiar solution’;

2) If you have a low level of serotonin in your brain, you might often feel impulsive, unstable, overreacting to situations, and can have suicidal thoughts and even attempts to end your life;

3) More than 90% of people who kill themselves suffer from a psychological disorder (e.g. mood disorder: bi-polar disorder, depression, anxiety, OCD). However, many people with psychological disorders do not attempt to kill themselves;

4) In adolescents suicidal behaviour is largely an expression of severe depression;

5) Alcohol use and abuse are associated with approximately 25% to 50% of suicides, particularly in adolescents;

6) Past suicide attempts is a strong risk factor and must be taken seriously;

7) One of the most important risk factors for suicide is a severe, stressful event, which was experienced as shameful or humiliating. For example, failure (real or imagined) in school or at work, an unexpected arrest, or a rejection by a loved one;

8) Physical and sexual abuse, which is linked to stress and attempts of suicide


- People who attempt to commit suicide, but not necessary want to destroy themselves, sometimes kill themselves by mistake. This happens in about 10% of all cases.

- The rate of suicide increase dramatically after each natural disaster (in any country) – floods, hurricanes, and particularly earthquakes.

- There is an increase in suicide rate in the first 9 days after a publicity about someone’s suicide, for example, a teenager or a celebrity.

- People often copy suicides because media portrays them as an attractive and/or romantic act. Unfortunately, the newspapers usually do not report about failed suicides where the person is left brain damaged, paralysed or severely ill.

Other articles you might be interested in:

7 Reasons for our unhappiness

Depression Test: Are you depressed?

What is Bipolar Disorder

I am depressed... What to do?

Life is too f***ing short

... or go to:

Archives of all Articles

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Coping with Stress (HOME PAGE)

'Why people commit suicide' Article Reference:
Durand, V.M. & Barlow, D.H. (2006). Essentials of Abnormal Psychology

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