Out of the ten countries in the world with the highest suicide rates, nine of them are in Europe. In 2011, the suicide prevention line in Ireland got 99 phone calls a day! According to the most recent data available (from the WHO website), in Europe 123,853 people commit suicide every year. That’s an average of 339 people per day! The highest suicide rates are reported among people aged 65+ (21.9 per 100,000 population) and 45–59 (21.5 per 100,000 population).
Suicide is not a respecter of age, race, gender, nationality, or socioeconomic status. A really good friend of mine had made his first $1 million before he was 21. He had so much money and power. Everything he wanted, he could buy. Even though he seemed to “have it all,” at the end of the day, life seemed totally pointless to him. There was really no purpose to his life. So one night he started writing his suicide note. That same night, for the first time in his life, he prayed to God (whom he didn’t believe in) that “if you are real, show me!” Literally the next day, he was engulfed in a community of Christians who would love him like he’d never known love, and he encountered God in a real and authentic way.
As a former Youth Pastor in Minnesota, I have been to more funerals of suicide victims than I care to count. If you talk to people who have thought about committing suicide, or have survived suicide attempts, the number one reason people want to cut their life short is because they feel hopeless. They don’t believe they have anything to live for and they can’t imagine life getting any better. For them, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
For many Europeans, this is their reality. 339 of them literally feel hopeless and daily take their own life.