Suicide in Asia-II
Pp. 159-167 (9)
Asia accounts for more than half of all suicides in the world. Suicide rates in Asia vary vastly
across the continent. Most suicides occur in China, India and Japan contributing more than 300,000
fatalities every year – about 40% of all suicides in the world. Countries in West Asia including the
Middle East report very low rates, whereas countries such as Japan and Korea report much higher rates
of suicide. These rates seem to have increased since the Asian Economic crisis that began in 1997 and
has not abated since. A major problem with the study of suicide in Asia is, apart from a number of
exceptions, the relative paucity of accurate suicide statistics. A few countries provide reliable data but
the majority do not, and some provide none at all.
While hanging is the most popular method of committing suicide in most countries the use of pesticides
is of particular concern in Asia, especially in rural areas. Suicide prevention programs are strongly
supported by the government in a few countries and are non-existent in some others. Socio-cultural and
political factors contribute to this state of affairs.
Epidemiology, Asia, suicide, prevention.
Department of Psychiatry, UKM Medical Centre, National University of Malaysia, Jalan Yaacob Latif, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia