America has the worst suicide rate of any nation in the West, data has revealed.
The US suffers a suicide every 20 minutes (14.5 per 100,000 people), making it the 31st worst in the world and far more than developed nations like France (9.7), Spain (5.3) and Sweden (12.4).
The UK, for example, ranks just 116 out of 183 countries, according to figures compiled by Our World in Data, using 2019 data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The impoverished African country Lesotho topped the list, with a suicide rate of 87.5 per 100,000 people. The next highest nation, Guyana, in South America, had less than half that rate, at 40.9, challenging the perception that suicide is only a scourge in rich countries.
Scroll down for the full list of countries
Lesotho had the highest rate of suicides per 100,000 people in 2019, nearly twice that of the second-highest country, Guyana. Meanwhile, the US and UK ranked 31 and 116 out of 183, respectively
High levels of gun violence and mental illness are believed to be the reason America is an outlier when it comes to suicides.
In 2021, firearms accounted for 55 percent of all suicide deaths in America.
A 2019 Boston University study found that for every 10 percent higher rate of gun ownership in a given state, the rate of youth suicides goes up by nearly 27 percent.
Health experts also said the economic and widespread psychological fallout from the pandemic have taken a massive toll on Americans’ mental health.
Loneliness was recently declared an epidemic in the US, with the US surgeon general warning it is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
That, plus the financial harm done to millions of Americans, has driven up rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Nearly 48,200 people took their own lives in 2021, up from about 46,000 in 2020 and 47,511 deaths in 2019, pre-pandemic.
The top-scoring continent was Africa. According to the United Nations, this is due to insufficient action to address and prevent the risk factors such as mental health conditions — which currently impact 116 million people on the continent. This is more than double 53 million in 1990.
The US ranked 31 out of 183 countries, with 14.5 suicides per 100,000 people every year. The UK, meanwhile, didn’t even crack the top 100. It ranked 116, with 6.9 suicides per 100,000 people.
More than 700,000 people around the world die by suicide every year, according to the World Health Organization. It’s also the fourth leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 29.
The WHO estimates that 77 percent of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries, which disproves the common misconception that suicide is only a problem in wealthy countries where people don’t need to worry about survival or food.
The most common methods of suicide include ingesting pesticides, hanging, and guns.
Data from Our World in Data and the World Health Organization found that the US ranked 31 out of 183 countries for worst suicide rates. Though it scored better than developed nations, recent figures show these rates are increasing
The 2019 Global Burden of Disease Report, published by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), found that the US had nearly four times the gun-related suicides than the next closest country, India
Men are more than twice as likely to commit suicide than women, figures suggest, and the strongest risk factor is a previous attempt, per the WHO, as well as suffering from mental health and alcohol use disorders.
Lesotho topped the global list, with a suicide rate of 87.5 per 100,000 people.
Lesotho is a kingdom bordering South Africa. It’s mostly made up of highlands, and many villages can only be accessed on horseback, on foot, or by light aircraft.
This rate is more than twice that of the next highest nation, Guyana. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s life expectancy was just 54.8 years in 2020.
Lesotho is also one of the few countries where more women commit suicide than men. According to 2019 figures from World Bank, the rate in women was 30.1 out of 100,000.
High rates of violence could be one reason for this. According to UNAIDS, one in three women and girls in the country were abused by an intimate partner in 2020.
Lesotho also has one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV in the world. An estimated one in five adults live with the condition, per the CDC, and 4,000 people over the age of 15 died of AIDS in 2021. This has left about 110,000 children orphaned.
Women also experience this at higher rates. In 2019, 190,000 females over 15 had HIV, compared to 130,000 males.
High disease rates and limited access to health care could drive up Lesotho’s suicide rates.
The US was ranked 31, with a suicide rate of 14.5 per 100,000 people.
Between 2020 and 2021, suicides increased by four percent, according to a report from the CDC.
Nearly 48,200 people took their own lives in 2021, up from about 46,000 in 2020 and 47,511 deaths in 2019, pre-pandemic. This is one death every 11 minutes.
Suicide is now the eleventh-leading cause of death in the US, compared to 2020 when it was the twelfth-leading cause. It’s also the second-leading cause of death among people aged 10 through 34.
The US has long been under fire for its growing number of gun deaths, which could contribute to the amount of suicides.
A 2022 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that in 2020, the US had a record number of 45,222 firearm deaths, and gun-related suicides rose by one percent.
Data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) Global Burden of Disease Report found that the US had nearly four times the gun-related suicides in 2019 of the second-highest country, India.
The United Kingdom, meanwhile, fell closer to the bottom half of the list, at 116 out of 183 countries. The nation had a suicide rate of 6.9 per 100,000 people in 2019.
Men in the UK were significantly more likely to attempt suicide than women, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics
That number increased after the Covid-19 pandemic. Just over 5,500 suicides were registered in England in Wales in 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). That’s about 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
Around three-quarters of suicides were in men, equal to about 16 deaths per 100,000. Women accounted for 5.5 out of 100,000.
Research from crisis organization Samaritans suggests that men in the UK are more likely than women to commit suicide because due to a gendered stigma surrounding mental health. Reaching out for help is seen as weak or feminine, making men less likely to find support for suicidal thoughts.
ONS lists the top methods as hanging, strangulation, and suffocation, which together accounted for about 58 percent of all registered suicide deaths. About 20.5 percent of those deaths were from poisoning.
Barbados ranked at the bottom of the list, with just 0.3 suicides per 100,000 people. The more relaxed lifestyle in the island nation and year-round warm weather could boost mental health and lead to these low suicide rates.