Murder and suicide are far deadlier than war in the Middle East, according to a study by the International Journal of Public Health.
The study – which surveyed 22 eastern Mediterranean countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Syria – reported that murder and suicide were responsible for 1.4 million deaths in 2015.
Wars in this region, however, accounted for 144,000 deaths; only one-tenth of the number that occurred due to other violent acts.
“Intractable and endemic violence is creating a lost generation of children and young adults. The future of the Middle East is grim unless we can find a way to bring stability to the region,” said Ali Mokdad, director for the Middle Eastern Initiatives at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Mental health conditions in the eastern Mediterranean – such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia – have increased sharply, according to the same research.
“In 2015, nearly 30,000 people in the region committed suicide and another 35,000 died from interpersonal violence, representing increases of 100% and 152%, respectively, over the past 25 years,” the report stated.
This is a much larger increase than in other regions of the world during the same time period, where increases of 19% in suicides and 12% in violent crimes were reported.