Dubious Distinction

Guyana Leads World in Suicides

The World Health Organization says in a new report that Guyana, the former British colony at the northeastern tip of South America, has the highest suicide rate in the world. The largely rural nation’s suicide rate is four times the global average, ahead of North Korea, South Korea, and Sri Lanka. Neighboring Suriname was the only other country from the Americas in the top—or perhaps bottom—10. Contributing factors to the high rate appear to be deep rural poverty, alcohol abuse, and easy access to deadly pesticides. WHO estimates there are about 800,000 suicides per year globally. Guyana, which has a population of about 800,000, has an age-adjusted suicide rate of just over 44 per 100,000 people, compared with the U.S. rate of 12 per 100,000.