In nearly 50 years, the number of suicides in Russia has reached a record new low — a total of 24,982 last year, the RBC news website reported, citing official statistics data.
Last year, the Rossat state agency recorded 17.1 cases of suicide per 100,000 people, the lowest it has been since 1962. In fact, a huge drop — around 6.2% — was recorded in just one year from 2014 to 2015.
An alarmingly high number of suicides became one of the most pressing issues in the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was probably the highest in 1995 when it rose to 42 per 100,000 which was twice the “critical” limit of 20 set by the World Health Organization.
However, suicide rates have been declining over the past 14 years in Russia. While the progress is indeed impressive some problems persist.
As of 2014, Russian teenage suicide rate remains the highest in Europe. A 2012 Washington Post article states “alcohol abuse, domestic violence and rigid parenting,” were the leading causes behind teen suicide.
“Adolescents are vulnerable, their minds are unstable, and any remark or joke can lead to profound experiences,” school psychologist Ekaterina Zherdeva was quoted as saying by Russia and India Report. “Due to lack of experience, they have very painful reactions to any changes, including moving, divorce of parents, quarreling with friends, or conflicts in school. In addition, they are sensitive about their appearance.”
In February 2012, the suicides of two 14-year-old girls in the Moscow suburb of Lobnya made international headlines. The two jumped off the roof of a 14-story building while holding hands after they had skipped classes for two weeks and were afraid of what their parents’ reactions would be. Their deaths reportedly set off a disturbing round of apartment jumps.
Rossat’s latest stats are good news for Russia at a national level. But underlying issues such as teen suicide and alcoholism still need to be addressed.