By Kayhan Life staff
Suicides in Iran have seen a 40 percent increase over the past decade, primarily due to economic conditions and the cost-of-living crisis, the Etemad newspaper reports.
Official statistics reveal a rise in suicide rates from around 3,500 cases per year to more than 5,000 cases. On average, 125 out of every 100,000 Iranians attempts suicide, resulting in six fatalities. Police records indicate that over the past 10 years, more than 40,000 deaths related to suicide have been reported, more than twice the total murder rate during the 2010s.
Police have also noted a significant number of “other suspicious deaths,” where details are unclear. The number of such suspicious deaths in the 2010s was approximately six times higher than the overall suicide rate, and 12 times higher than the murder rate. Between 2015 and 2020, 4,183 Iranians on average died of suicide each year — a suicide mortality rate of 5.1 per 100,000 people.
Etemad’s analysis of regional data reveals higher suicide rates in the western provinces compared to central, northern, southern, and eastern regions of Iran.
In provinces such as Kermanshah (11.8 per 100,000 people), Ilam (11.5 per 100,000 people), and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad (10.5 per 100,000 people), the suicide rate is more than double the national average. Lorestan, Hamadan, and Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari have the highest suicide rates relative to their populations.
In the western provinces, women face higher suicide rates due to “family conflicts” and “gender discrimination.” Etemad reported in April of this year that 77 women in the Kurdistan province died by suicide, and 21 of them were under 18. . Hanging was the most common method used in 28 cases. Among Kurdish women, “family conflicts” were given as the primary cause of suicide, followed by poverty.
According to various analyses, , the increase in suicide rates is directly related to the economic conditions and livelihood of the population in Iran. The “Iran Open Data” shows that the increase in the suicide rate is directly related to the poverty rate in Iran. The misery index, which is the addition of the inflation and unemployment rates, determines each province’s share of the country’s gross domestic product.
Iranians were exposed to severe economic, political, and social crises in the 2010s. According to Iran Open Data and Etemad, the poverty rate in the country soared from 19 percent to 30 percent over that period. In other words, more than 30 million Iranians, out of a population of 86 million, fell below the poverty line.
Economic inequality, unemployment, and inflation have a direct connection with suicide rates, although those factors alone do not solely determine the suicide rate within a region.
At the same time, Iran faces the painful phenomenon of worker suicides. Workers who are laid off from production and industrial units by employers aiming to reduce costs inevitably resort to suicide out of despair. In the latest report on worker suicides, a 35-year-old day-wage worker in the maintenance section of the Abadan Oil Refinery hanged himself in the backyard of his home on Aug. 16. This worker had recently been laid off from the refinery.
A month earlier, on July 26, Heydar Mohseni, one of the workers at Chavar Petrochemical Plant in Ilām province, committed suicide after being dismissed by the company’s security personnel.
Within the past two months (from June 22nd to July 16th), there have been reports of suicides resulting in the death of at least four workers.. All lost their lives due to job loss and their livelihood.
In April 2022, on the occasion of International Workers’ Day, the Harana news agency,– – reported on the suicides of 11 between May 2021 and May 2022. The worker suicide rate increased in the following months. The ILNA news agency reported an increase in suicides in August 2022 and said: “The crisis in livelihoods is constantly threatening the lives of workers.”
In another report published in December 2022, the Etemad wrote: : “From the 21st of March 2022 until 29th of December 2022(283 days), 23 workers residing or working in the provinces of Khuzestan, Kerman, Fars, Semnan, Khorasan-e-Razavi, Ilam, Gilan, Kermanshah, Qazvin, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, West Azarbaijan, and Golestan, committed suicide due to poverty, unpaid wages and salaries, or layoff..”
“On average, every 12 days a worker has taken steps to end their life,” the report added.
Suicides related to economic problems and living conditions are not limited to the working class. Last year, 13 medical residents committed suicide due to low wages, lack of insurance, heavy workload, and despair about their future.
Ali Salahshur, who represents specialist physicians in the country, reported in August that another medical resident had committed suicide for similar reasons.
“From 2021 to 2022, 13 medical residents committed suicide. They are forced to perform heavy work with low wages and no insurance, and with this situation, they have little hope for the future,” he said.
Dr. Mohsen Mohaddesi, a sociologist, said in a recent session titled “Voluntary End” held at the “Tardid” Institute: “Suicide is not just an act; suicide is a process, there is a flow that drives the individual towards this path and ultimately to commit suicide. We have no right to just see it as a final moment.”
“Based on the reality that suicide is a multi-pronged phenomenon, we can consider a combination of social and psychological variables in it,” he said. “It is a very complex phenomenon. I believe that suicidal behavior is a product of a form of life and social meanings, and the individual who performs this act is conveying meanings, has an understanding the social world and his own situation. In order to understand his action and provide scientific explanations, we must understand the meanings of his action and enter his world. We must be able to describe correctly the world he has been involved in and extract the story of his life.”