The graphic I am showing you is a WHO-made map of the earth, colored by the suicide rate of each country, with the countries greyed out having data that is more than ten years old (and thus useless). I want you to notice something.
With the exception of Germany, country from France to the Pacific (including Japan), is in the highest rate category. Yes, for some reason, Europeans and Asians are committing suicide more than anyone else on earth. Something must be going terribly, terribly wrong. Also, the last time I saw this map, about 2 years ago, Germany was in the highest category, making the belt outright continuous.
The highest rate is in Lithuania. Wikipedia reports that 40.2 Lithuanians out of every 100,000 end their lives every year, out of a total population of 3,369,600. Doing the rather grim math, 1,355 Lithuanians take their lives each year. Men were five times more likely to kill themselves. Lithuanian commentators blamed everything from poor economy to national disruption, to homogeneity, to lack of childcare. The Lithuanian government is worried that Lithuanians might disappear in the future, especially since their birthrate plummeted to 1.3 children per couple.
Many of the other countries could have their high rates blamed on lack of prohibition against suicide (Japan), shoddy psychiatric services (the Koreas), being inside the Arctic Circle and thus having dark and depressing winters (Russia, Finland), social isolation (rural China), or Alcoholism (every country even close to the former soviet union).
While most of my (American) readers will probably assume that these statistics means that Europe and Asia are very depressing places, I don't think that depression is the only factor here. The lowest rates are in Central and South America, where people don't commit suicide for religious regions. Catholic Christianity, the most common religion there, teaches that it is evil to commit suicide because of two reasons. The first being that your life was a gift from God, and that ending it is insultingly returning it. The second being that it denied that God was just, which was blasphemous. So Central and South Americans might be just as depressed, but finding some other way to deal with it.
It is not clear how these countries came to have this problem, nor can I offer any real solution to them. Germany might be a good place to start looking, as their rate recently declined. This may be due to action on the part of German society, or the German government, or it may have just been spontaneous.
As a Lithuanian commentator wrote, "Every civilized state must take care of its people's health by proposing ways of preventing suicides."