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Russia Ranks 3rd in Suicide Rates Globally, UN Says

Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

Russia has the world’s third-highest suicide rate, the World Health Organization said Monday in a global study published ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Globally, nearly 800,000 people die by suicide every year — more than are killed by malaria or breast cancer, or by war or homicide, the WHO said. The UN public health agency has urged governments to adopt suicide prevention plans to help people cope with stress and to reduce access to suicide means.

Despite their rapid decline in recent years, suicide rates in Russia are the third-highest in the world, the WHO’s research said

Around 122 people in Russia died by suicide every day in 2016, or 44,673 overall, according to BBС Russia.

South Korea, India, Japan and the United States also figured high on the WHO's ranking.

"Despite progress, one person still dies every 40 seconds from suicide [globally]," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

Lack of economic prospects, as well as cultural and spiritual emptiness, are the two leading causes of suicide, according to Temyr Hagurov, a leading researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Sociology.

“Demand for meaning is highly characteristic of Russian culture; a Russian person cannot live without meaning,” Hagurov told The Moscow Times.

Russia regularly appears high in global suicide rankings due to social upheavals and an inability to overcome the legacy of the Soviet era, psychiatrist Lev Perezhogin told The Moscow Times.

“Everyone is responsible for themselves and for their happiness nowadays and people still rely on the state, which cannot provide for the needs of all citizens,” said Perezhogin, of the Serbsky State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry.

Correction: This story has been corrected to say that Russia's suicide rate is third-highest in the world. An earlier version incorrectly stated that it has the second-highest suicide rate.

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