Finnish politicians were baffled for decades as to why raising taxes hasn’t lowered the suicide rates. Then it dawned on them, maybe education was the answer…
Finland has finally shed a bleak record as one of the world’s suicide capitals after the number of people taking their own lives in this Nordic state has dropped by 40 percent in the past 15 years. Nowadays around 18 out of 100,000 people commit suicide each year in Finland, about the same level as in France and Austria. In 1990, the number was 30 per 100,000.
The decline is attributed largely to better treatment for depression, but even experts cannot really explain why the drop has been so dramatic, admits psychiatrist Jouko Loennqvist, the head of the mental health department of Finland’s National Public Health Institute. “Depression is more often properly recognised, prevented and treated. We have had special projects and campaigns about depression, which is now better recognised and treated. Psychological support and social support are nowadays in better condition,” he said.
Finland’s dire reputation as a nation of suicidals dates back to the 25-year period from 1965 to 1990 when Finland experienced an economic and urban boom. During that period, the suicide rate tripled. By 1991, Finland was the world leader in teen suicides, and among the top three in overall suicides alongside New Zealand and Iceland. Faced with the grim figures, Finnish authorities dramatically increased funding to improve mental health and since 1991 the amount of available psychiatric help has doubled.
[...]Experts meanwhile dismiss the widespread belief that Finland’s dark winters, where the sun doesn’t rise at all in the north for several months, play a role in the suicide rate. “There is a link (between darkness and suicide) but it’s not an important explanation,” Loennqvist said, noting that suicides tend to peak each year at the end of spring when the sun shines late into the day. And experts point out that Norway, located at the same latitude, for a long time had a suicide rate that was half that of Finland.
You see, this blog isn’t ALWAYS so negative and critical…!
Hat Tip to Helsinkian for the link!