According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 800,000 people commit suicide every year, one person every 40 seconds.
For every adult who committed suicide, there would have been more than 20 other suicide attempts. Attempts to commit suicide are viewed very badly in various countries of the world, and the culprits face penalties such as imprisonment.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 29 years. According to WHO, in Africa, many countries have high rates of suicide, with depression often considered the main cause. Most young people who suffer from depression caused mainly by sadness, loneliness, grief, and disappointment, usually have no one to turn to for help and mostly lack professional help.
WHO believes that “effective and evidence-based interventions can be implemented at the population, subpopulation and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts.”
As debates continue in Africa on the best approaches to prevent people from committing such extreme acts, the most recent data from WHO show which countries in the continent have the highest number of suicides.
Here are the top 7 African countries with the highest suicide rates:
At the top of this ranking, Lesotho, with a population of nearly 2.13 million, has a suicide rate of 28.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. The southern African country also has the highest suicide rate among women on the continent and even in the world; 32.6 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, while the figure for men is 22.7 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The West African country has the second highest suicide rate, with 23 suicides per 100,000 population. Women have the lowest rate at 13.0 deaths per 100,000 population compared to 32.0 deaths per 100,000 population for men.
Equatorial Guinea has 22.0 suicides per 100,000 population, ranking third in the continent. As in Côte d’Ivoire, men are more likely to commit suicide in Equatorial Guinea, with 31.3 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 10.8 deaths per 100,000 women.
In Uganda, where suicide attempts are illegal and culprits are punished, the suicide rate is low. According to the most recent WHO data, the country recorded 20.0 suicides per 100 000 population. Men are more likely to commit suicide, with 21.2 deaths per 100,000 population, while the figure for women is 18.7 deaths per 100,000 population.
The country has 19.5 suicides per 100 000 inhabitants. The suicide rate is higher among men with 26.9 deaths per 100,000 population, while women have a much lower figure, 12.5 deaths per 100,000 population.
Recent data places the country among the top 10 countries with the highest suicide rates; 19.1 suicides per 100 000 people were registered. Women have the lowest suicide rate, at 11.1 deaths per 100,000 population, while among men, the suicide rate is 29.1 per 100,000 population.
The West African country has one of the lowest suicide rates on the continent; 17.3 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants. There is not much difference between the suicide rate for both sexes. Men have 17.5 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants and women 17.1 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants.