Here we go again…Talking to a friend in London on the phone I get the question I have got so many times before “Why do you think so many people in Sweden commit suicide?” It seems quite a few people out there are convinced that not only are we all tall, blonde and blue-eyed (false, false, false), we are also profoundly unhappy and suicidal…So what do these ideas have in common? Correct, they are nonsense!
With regards to the perception about suicidal Swedes, some updated information quoted by Wikipedia shows that Sweden is nowhere near the top of this list;
In fact, suicide rates have never been very high in Sweden when compared to the top names on that list: please check:
So where did this pervasive idea connecting Sweden and suicide come from?
After doing a bit of digging, it seems that it might have come from the United States: In 1960 (using 1957 data) the New York Times ran an article about suicide in the world. Very few countries reported any statistics at all back then but Sweden did – and Sweden still only made number 6 on the list, behind Switzerland, Finland, Denmark and Austria and Japan in first place.
So Sweden got labeled as the country of the depressed, and it has apparently remained in the subconscious imagination of the world ever since …The question is, what can we do to kill this sticky myth for once and for all?