Suicide in Bhutan

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Suicide in Bhutan in recent years has become a notable phenomenon in the small Himalayan kingdom, which promotes Gross National Happiness as a government policy. As the Kingdom of Bhutan adheres to Tibetan Buddhism for its state religion,[1] the mere discussion of suicide and the means of tackling it have been generally seen as socially taboo amongst most Bhutanese.[2]

Under Bhutanese law, the act of committing suicide is itself not illegal, but abetting a suicide is regarded as a crime. The suicide rate has been widely discussed about Bhutanese refugees, who tend to be of Nepalese origin,[3] as unemployment, lack of family ties and depression ensue.[4]

Based on 2011 data, the suicide rate of Bhutan was 16.2 per 100,000 people. This figure ranked the kingdom as the 20th-highest suicide rate in the world, and 6th highest in the Asia-Pacific region.[5] The number of recorded deaths has increased by around 50% for the years 2012 and 2013,[6] which places the Himalayan Kingdom among the countries with the highest suicide rates in the world. Lack of job opportunities, the percentage of broken families, and a high rate of domestic violence are considered to be major contributing factors.

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