I leave the UK for a study trip to Cyprus this afternoon but while I was preparing I was reminded of something a Cypriot trade unionist friend told me a while ago.

We were in a seminar discussing the various aspects of the financial crisis on union members with other European colleagues when the issue of suicide was raised with many reporting increases in their countries.

According to my friend the rate in Cyprus was artificially low–indeed virtually zero–due to the power retained by the Orthodox Church in Cyprus and the desire of people to have church funerals. This makes it difficult to ascertain the impact of the crisis on workers in this ultimate of measurements.

The only international comparison I could find of suicides (quickly, as I have to pack) was OECD figures but their database only provides up to 2009. The chart above shows the rates of OECD countries, which doesn’t include Cyprus.

Interesting to see how many of the lowest rate countries all have strong religious establishments of different shades, including Orthodox, Catholic and Jewish. I wonder whether they really do have the lowest rates.

Please do refute.

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One response »

  1. Siobhan says:

    This is a whole research project in itself! Are there religions where suicide is treated differently than in Judeo-Christian traditions? And what about age, gender, etc.? Are there data at local scales? Hmm…

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