Azerbaijan publishes suicide statistics

A total of 327 suicides were recorded in Azerbaijan in 2016, said Prof Fuad Ismayilov, the director of the Health Ministry's centre for mental health.

He said that 515 people committed suicide in 2015. "In addition to suicides, 470 attempted suicides were also recorded. The number of suicides in Azerbaijan is below the critical level. Underlying most of the suicides there were biological, psychological, social and genetic reasons," Ismayilov said.

The global average rate is seven suicides per 100,000 people. In Azerbaijan, the average is five suicides per 100,000 people.

At a conference held on 8 September on the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day, a journalist who specialises in reporting on crime, Ramella Ibrahimkhalilova, said that 350 to 500 suicides are committed in Azerbaijan annually. She said that the law-enforcement agencies publicize statistics according to which an average of 200 to 220 women and 40 to 50 teenagers take their lives on an annual basis. The rest of the people committing suicide are men.

International statistics shows that there are five to six attempted suicides per each successful suicide. In Azerbaijan, this trend is on the rise, and 40 people killed themselves in January 2017 alone. A total of 46 people committed suicide in March 2017.

The suicide in February of mental health specialist Dayanat Rzayev was one of the most high-profile ones. Rzayev was a depression specialist. He hanged himself in his apartment.

Mental health specialist Azad Isazadeh says that "the tendency of a rise in suicides in Azerbaijan began back in 2012-13, i.е. before the currency was devalued. However, certainly, the devaluation could not but affect that wave. Naturally, it caused a rise in the number of people committing suicide because they were unable to repay their loans, because they had debts and financial problems."

"Perhaps the most dangerous trend is that more young people are committing suicide. In other words, while teenagers have always been considered to be the greatest risk group, we can see that people committing suicide are getting 'younger' - even among teenagers. We have come across cases of suicide by children aged ten, nine, and eleven, and this is alarming as well," Isazadeh added.

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