MOSCOW Suicide is the primary cause of violent deaths globally with more than 1 million people taking their own lives annually, the head of Moscow's social and forensic psychiatry center said Thursday.
Suicide is the world's eighth leading cause of death. Globally, suicide takes more lives than murder and war put together, according to a World Health Organization report.
"Since 1950 the figure has grown 60 percent worldwide," said professor Boris Polozhy of the Moscow Serbsky Institute for Social and Forensic Psychiatry.
In Europe the country with the highest rate, among both men and women ages 25-64 years, is Lithuania, followed by Belarus, Russia and Latvia. The region with the lowest suicide rate is Latin America.
In Russia, the number of suicides has plunged 30 percent from 2001 to 2006, when a total of 42,855 Russians committed suicide. Currently, the overall rate is 30 deaths per 100,000, with more than 22 percent of suicides committed by people aged 40-49. Almost six times as many Russian males commit suicide than females.
"The peak suicide rate in Russia was in 1995, and the figure is now falling," Polozhy said.
Research also shows that the most vulnerable jobs are psychiatrists, musicians, lawyers, military personnel and insurance agents.