- Every year, almost one million people die from suicide; a "global" mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.
- In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide.
- Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group; these figures do not include suicide attempts which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide.
- Suicide worldwide is estimated to represent 1.8% of the total global burden of disease in 1998, and 2.4% in countries with market and former socialist economies in 2020.
- Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.
- Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders) are a major risk factor for suicide in Europe and North America; however, in Asian countries impulsiveness plays an important role.
- Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved.
On a personal note, I find the statement about impulsiveness playing a important role in Asian suicide of particular interest. Steven's suicide appears to most likely have been an impulsive response to extreme stress. My conclusion is based on the fact that his profile doesn't fit any of the high risk groups. Before his death, I had never heard of suicide as an impulsive act.
The prevalence of cyber-bullying is another issue that is seeing an increase in opinions that vary from the most widely accepted numbers. As a snapshot of the ratio of people claiming that cyber-bullying has either increased or decreased, I tried a test. I performed a search for the phrases "cyber-bullying has increased" and one for "cyber-bullying has decreased" ( with the quotes ). The "increase" search yielded approximately 322,000 results, the "decrease" results were 5. The results, while totally subjective and completely unscientific, are none the less interesting.
With a ratio that one sided, one could be excused for imagining there might be a majority opinion here. Yet there are those who, for their own reasons, want to give the public the impression that cyber-bullying is of little importance, and in fact on the decrease.Their motivation is of less interest to me than their sources of data. Again, cherry-picking seems to be the tool of choice. The simple fact that texting and various social networks have vastly increased in use over the last ten years seems not to enter into their thought process.
To me, the most important issue isn't so much the rates of suicide, cyber-bullying, or even so-called "traditional" bullying. The issue is that they exist at all. The world will never be perfect and tragedies will happen, both big and small. That's just the way of things. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying to find each and every way possible to reduce the prevalence of, and harm done by bullying. We should. To manipulate statistics on these issues for any personal agenda does no good, and may well do harm. If people believe bullying and suicide are some kind of passe issue-of-the-month, tolerance for both will increase, and help for those in need will fall by the wayside. That's unacceptable to me.