Suicide, Major Depression Disorder, and Bipolar Disease


Suicide is more likely to occur during a major depression episode and more likely to occur in bipolar depression which is harder to treat medically. The rates of suicide are consistently rising in all age groups.

CDC statistics for the United States show that in 2014 there were over 42,000 suicides. Suicide is thus the tenth leading cause of death in Americans. Consider that a suicide occurs every thirteen minutes in the U.S.

Suicides by country as of 2011 compiled by the WHO listed by number per 100,000 population reveal some surprising results. These numbers are underestimates as some countries with strong social and religious objection to suicide are under reported or not at all.

Guyana had the highest rate by far at 44

The next four highest rates at 28 were South Korea, Sri Lanka, Lithuania, Surinam,and Mozambique.

Countries with rates in the 24 range include Tanzania, Nepal, Kazakhstan and Burundi. In the 20 range were India, South Sudan, Turkmenisan, Russia, Uganda, Hungary and Japan.

In the 16-19 range were Sudan, Comoros, Ukraine, Poland, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Latvia, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia.

Countries in the 14 to 15 range were northern European and Scandinavian countries: Finland, Belgium, Iceland and Estonia.

The U.S. is in the 11 to 13 range along with France, Chile, Bolivia,Croatia, Austria, Ethiopia, Thailand, Cuba, Sweden and Ireland.

The largest category was in the 9 to 10 range and among others includes Romania, Argentina, Canada, New Zealand, Germany,Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and Luxembourg.

Some of those listed in the 6- 8 range include China, Singapore, Fiji, Costa Rica, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Paraguay,

As for rates of 5 are Honduras, Colombia, Morocco, Iran, Spain, and Viet Nam.

Those in the 3- 4 range include Panama, Italy Guinea, Qatar,Liberia, Indonesia, Mexico, Greece, Yemen, Peru, United Ara Emirates and South Africa.

The lowest rates in the 1-2 range were Barbados, Bahamas, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon.

The lowest rates of less than 1/100,000 were Oman, Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

I can see no pattern as far as developed versus underdeveloped countries or by socio-economical levels. Some of the surprising countries are those with a strong religious condemnation of suicide.

The latest statistics which are in a class of their own is that for returning Middle East veterans. Approximately 22 of these service men die by suicide each day. Returning veterans are afflicted by brain trauma, PTSD, amputations, etc. One in every six returning veterans have or develop drug or alcohol addiction which can lead to homelessness. There are now more than 700,000 vets in the court system for various offenses.

The following statistics were as of 2014 and do not take into consideration sex in which across the board the rate is 4 to 1, male to female.

Ages 13-19: 4

Ages 20-34: 15

The largest increase in suicides has been in the group 45 or older at 19 per 100,000.

WHO statistics from 1999-2010 reveal the most pronounced increase occurred among men in their 50s in which the rate increased by 50% to 30 per 100,000. For women the largest increase was seen for ages 60 to 64, an increase of 60% to 7 per 100,00.

These increases in suicide rates occurred, therefore, among baby-boomers where issues of life choices and economic downturn and financial stress may have played a role. Middle-aged baby boomers are having to provide for their aging parents as well as for their own family. Also, the wide availability of prescription opoid drugs may play a role. Studies at Rutgers University suggest the rise in this age group has been due to unrealized expectations upon retirement.

Other demographics besides age are at play. The largest group committing suicide are Caucasians followed by American Indians and Eskimo Indians. As of 2014 whites accounted for 70% of suicides. The use of firearms is still the most common method.

Over 90% of people who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of death. Untreated depression or bipolar depression are the most likely causes of suicide. Among untreated persons with affective disorders the rate of suicide over a lifetime is 15% or 1 in 8. Other causes besides mental illness include a history of sexual or physical abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, poor job security, victims of bullying and social isolation and situational depression.

As for suicide attempts over 500,000 are reported by hospitals in 2014 a figure that is vastly under estimated. A study of suicide survivors have shown that after five years these folks uniformly are glad they did not succeed.

Suicide chat line: 1-888-376-6246