- People kill themselves far more often than they kill each other – suicides outnumber homicides two-to-one.
- The youngest known person to commit suicide was 6-year-old Samantha Kuberski, who tied a belt to a crib and hung herself after being sent to her room.
- A small village in Wales is haunted by suicides among its youngest inhabitants, almost all by hanging.
Over 800,000 people commit suicide each year, meaning there is a suicide after every 40 seconds. In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. Homicide, for comparison, ranks 17th. Male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides, age group between 20-24 being the most affected risk group.
Hence, the reason when the cause of death of six-year-old girl Samantha Kuberski from Oregon was ruled a suicide, child psychologists and experienced investigators were in shock – Can a six-year-old commit suicide? Does a child that young even understand the concept of death?
Suicide before the age of 15 is uncommon. The mother of a first-grader, Samantha Kuberski, sent her daughter to her room after having a disagreement. The child tied a belt onto a bar of an unused crib and hanged herself. The police suspect no foul play but are not convinced that the girl realized she was taking her own life. The interviews with the family showed the girl knew the dangers of putting a belt around her neck and that she statements about killing herself.
Then there were four siblings China, aged between five and 13, who killed themselves’ by drinking a pesticide after being abandoned by parents. Three girls and a boy, who was the eldest, left a note saying “today is the day to go.” The youngest of the siblings was one year younger than Samantha, but it’s safe to assume the youngest ones were influenced by their older brother.
Their mother left the family after having an argument with her husband, who eventually decided to abandon the children too, leaving them with a debit card that had 3,500 yuan ($537) left when they died. When a newspaper published the horrific story and pictures about the conditions the children had to live in, the Chinese public was in shock, triggering the suspension of several local officials.
In Wales, there is an epidemic of suicides by hanging, affecting all ranges of people including children, giving rumours that a “cult suicide” is to blame. The local adults are frantically trying to keep kids alive, almost all the methods of choice are by hanging. The occurrences are so common that in 2010 police asked the media to stop covering the incidents to prevent copy-cats, instead of helping suicidal young people.
The Vanity Fair has done a good job covering the story.
There is a documentary called Bridgend about the phenomenon in a small village in Wales, which is haunted by suicides among its youngest inhabitants.