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Soaring suicide rates

A report by China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that every two minutes someone in China kills himself. It is an alarming statistic. China ranks as the top country in the world for suicide with an average 287,000 people taking their own lives annually between 1995 and 1999. China suicides account for almost a quarter of the global total. Over half of these are women with the bulk of the deaths occurring in rural areas.

Spiralling suicides amongst Asian teens and youngsters are often attributed to school and exam pressures as more and more students strive to compete and enter the workforce. The CDC says that “Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death overall in China and the leading cause of death in persons aged 15-34 years.”

According to WHO, about a million persons around the world kill themselves every year. While mental disorder accounts for almost 90 percent of this, in China the figure is around 60 percent. China also has the highest rate of female suicide in the world.

In 2009, Korea registered 31.1 deaths per 100,000 people, Japan 24.4, China 22.2 and Singapore 10. India recorded a suicide rate of 10.5 per 100,000 in 2006 with the bulk of the deaths occurring in the 30-44-year age bracket. The bulk of suicide victims were male and 41 percent were self-employed. Indian suicide cases were highest in Pondicherry and lowest in Bihar and Nagaland.