Suicides in Greenland began to rise in the 1970s; and continued increasing until 1986. In 1986, suicide was the leading cause of death in many towns, such as Sarfannguit.In 1970, the rate of suicide in Greenland was historically very low, but by 1990–1994, it had become one of the highest in the world with 107 per 100,000 persons committing suicide per year. Government data reported in 2010 suggest that almost one suicide occurred a week.
Methods of suicide in Greenland (based on a study of 1286 cases)
There are many reasons for Greenland’s high rate of suicide, including alcoholism, depression, poverty, conflict-ridden relationship with partner, dysfunctional parental homes, etc. According to a report published in the Science Daily in 2009, the suicide rate in Greenland increases during the summer. Researchers have blamed insomnia caused by incessant daylight.
Violent methods were used for suicide in 95% of cases. Common methods include hanging (46%) and shooting (37%); other methods, such as jumping from heights, cutting with sharp objects, drowning, overdose of medication, and poisoning were also used, but less frequently.
Greenland’s Government have undertaken a number of efforts to prevent suicides. There are different associations that provide support for people that feel suicidal. Measures include posters placed along the roads, which read: “The call is free. No one is alone. Don’t be alone with your dark thoughts. Call.” Suicide consultants are employed to show films discouraging teenage suicide attempts.