What do you think - is homicide more common than suicide? Turns out, it depends on where you live. I received multiple e-mails about the tidbit in the New York Times "Freakonomics" blog last week on homicide and suicide rates worldwide.
Japan, for example, has a very low homicide rate, but a very high suicide rate. Jamaica has a very high homicide rate and a very low suicide rate. Outliers, as the blog points out, are some states of the Former Soviet Union, which have high homicide and suicide rates.
In the U.S., people are more likely to die by suicide than by homicide, a fact that, I think, if considered more thoughtfully, would perhaps differently direct sources of funding for suicide prevention.
What's interesting for me to consider is the potential protective factors that exist in places like Jamaica that keep suicide rates low. What is it about the environment, the culture, or the psychology of the people that keeps them from dying by suicide? Along the same lines, what are the risk factors that exist in places like Japan - or the U.S. - that make suicide more common? Most importantly, what can we do to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors?