Suicide: A Major Cause of Death In Cuba

HAVANA TIMES — More than 12,000 Cubans took their own lives in the last eight years in Cuba, according to official statistics published by the National Bureau of Statistics and Information (ONEI). This confirmed suicide as the ninth leading cause of death in the country – though it is still less than in countries such as France, Japan and the United States, reported Cafe Fuerte.

The main methods used to commit suicide on the island in 2005 (the year with the most deaths by people’s own hands) were hanging, burns and ingesting agricultural poisons, according to a report by the section of the Cuban Society of Psychiatry that studies suicide.

The ONEI figures show that the overwhelming majority of Cubans who decided to take their lives between 2004 and 2011 were 60 years of age or older, followed by those between 40 and 59.

Although suicide has historically figured as one of the leading causes of death in the country —even prior to the revolution — only in 1989 was it identified as a public health problem. The issue remains taboo in the official press and no public campaigns have been carried out to raise people’s awareness about this tragic concern.