January 18th, 2016 (ICR News) Costa Rica now ranks number two in Central America – behind only El Salvador – in terms of annual suicides, according to official statistics by the Ministry of Health, which now deems suicide as a public health concern.
Despite Costa Ricans’ reputation for a laid-back approach to life, epitomized in the country’s famous phrase of “pura vida,” the country’s suicide rate has increased an astonishing 660 percent since 1999, skyrocketing from an average 60 suicides annually to some 400 in 2014, the latest statistic available.
Officials say that the most vulnerable population are those between 35 and 45 years of age, especially those who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, or who have trouble finding employment.
Yesenia Brenes from the University of Costa Rica (UCR)’s School of Economics told CRHoy.com that a significant “positive relationship” between unemployment and suicide is of particular concern.
According to the latest Continuing Survey of Employment, some 210,000 people remained out of work as of the third quarter of last year.
Data provided by the Ministry of Health and the Judicial Investigative Police (OIJ) indicate that while women attempt suicide more often than men, men are more likely to succeed in taking their own life.