Suicide is a tragedy for individuals, their families and friends. But it can also reflect wider social problems, including depression and poor quality of life. For that reason, rates of suicide can offer insights into aspects of a society’s overall health.
There were an estimated 140,000 suicides in OECD countries in 2006, the most recent year for which internationally comparable data is available. Death rates were lowest in the southern European countries of Greece, Italy and Spain, as well as Mexico and the United Kingdom, at fewer than seven deaths per 100,000 people. They were highest in Korea, Hungary, Japan and Finland, at 18 or more deaths per 100 000 people.