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Post Sweden's Suicide Rates Were the Highest in 1960s, Very Low Today
Created by John Eipper on 08/05/21 3:41 AM

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Sweden's Suicide Rates Were the Highest in 1960s, Very Low Today (Paul Levine, Denmark, 08/05/21 3:41 am)

Where did Henry Levin get his data for current Scandinavian suicide rates? According to Wikipedia, WHO 2019 statistics reveal that his information is outdated. Denmark has the lowest suicide rate per 100,000 (7.6), lower than Europe's average (10.5), while Finland has the highest (13.4). Rates in Norway (9.9) and Sweden (12.4) are also lower than in the USA (14.5).

In the 1960s Sweden had the highest suicide rate among Western countries. That was when Ingmar Bergman turned Angst into art.

Now Sweden is identified with ABBA, IKEA and H&M and Denmark with LEGO, NOMA and the great Nordic Noir television series.

The Welfare State is still alive and well here, while the US remains the only Western country without universal healthcare. Shameful!


JE comments: Sweden's high suicide rate in the 1960s was attributed to the long winters and lack of daylight, but (global warming aside) the winters there haven't gotten any shorter or warmer.  The study above attributes the decline to a national focus on mental health.  This convinces me.  The dubious honor of Europe's highest suicide rate now belongs to Lithuania, with Russia not far behind.  A curiosity:  the Pacific island nations have exceptionally high levels of suicide, while similarly sized Caribbean islands are among the lowest.  Strange.

Paul, nice to hear from you.  Have you ever splurged on dinner at NOMA?  I just checked the menu, and yikes:  plan on dropping U$700 + for dinner with wine.  That's a pretty Krone for a duck egg with wet hay (sic).

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  • Norway: Nation of Fjords...and Warts (Henry Levin, USA 08/06/21 4:01 AM)
    In his post of August 5th, Paul Levine focuses on Sweden and argues that Sweden had high suicide rates in the past, but not present. My earlier response had been to the analysis by José Ignacio Soler of Norway's "happiness" and evidence that there are questions about the meaning of happiness attributed to Norway.

    The article below has much more analytic detail on recent suicides in Norway. Clearly, there are serious questions associated with the suicide rates and causes and remedies in Norway, suggesting that this problem was not solved in the last sixty years as Paul has maintained:


    Norway is a beautiful country with a kind and empathetic people. (I should add that Nacho Soler's daughter in Oslo is also my niece, and we receive very positive reports of her life in Oslo.)

    However, Norway has other issues such as an expensive economy ($5 for a small bottle of water) and open substance abuse. The holiday of independence from Sweden in May is truly frightening in terms of its profligate alcohol consumption, a night of smashed bottles, vomit on the street, young people drunk and helpless, and other frightening street scenes.  Contrast that with the beauty of the country and the fjords and tranquility of Bergen in non-holiday times and the glorious music of Edvard Grieg. As with many countries, there is a mixed picture that challenges the meaning of the one-dimension nirvana.

    JE comments:  Norway's suicide rate still appears to be lower than that of the US and the EU as a whole.  Concerning Norway, Hank Levin's cuñado José Ignacio Soler has sent a second report.  Nacho's post is next.

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