Finland has overtaken Norway to become the happiest country on earth, according to to a UN annual report issued on Wednesday that found Americans were getting less happy even as their country became richer.
Burundi in east Africa, scarred by bouts of ethnic cleansing, civil wars and coup attempts, came bottom in the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) 2018 World Happiness Report which ranked 156 countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.
The study also reveals that the US has slipped to 18th place, five places down on 2016. The top four places are taken by Nordic nations, with Finland followed by Norway, Denmark Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.
Taking the harsh, dark winters in their stride, Finns said access to nature, safety, childcare, good schools and free healthcare were among the best things about in their country.
Nepal was 101 where as Pakistan was ahead than Nepal with 75th among Sounth Asian countries followed by Bhutan with 97. Likewise, Bangladesh 115th, Sri Lanka 116th and India was 133rd.
Britain was 19th and the United Arab Emirates 20th.
The UN, for the first time since it was started in 2012, also examined the happiness levels of immigrants in each country, and found Finland also scored highest.
Finland took top honors in that category too, giving the country a statistical double-gold status. The foreign-born were least happy in Syria, which has been mired in civil war for seven years.
“The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born,” said Professor John Helliwell of Canada’s University of British Columbia.
One chapter of the 170-page report is dedicated to emerging health problems such as obesity, depression and the opioid crisis, particularly in the United States where the prevalence of all three has grown faster than in most other countries.
While US income per capita has increased markedly over the last half century, happiness has been hit by weakened social support networks, a perceived rise in corruption in government and business and declining confidence in public institutions.
Suicide can’t be predicted by asking about suicidal thoughts : Study
Most people who died of suicide deny they experience suicidal thoughts when asked by doctors in the weeks and months leading up to their death, a major Australian study has found.
The findings, co-authored by clinical psychiatrist and Professor Matthew Large from UNSW’s School of Psychiatry, Sydney that published in the journal BJPsych Open The meta-analysis challenge the widely-held assumption that psychiatrists can predict who will suicide by asking if they are preoccupied with thoughts of killing themselves.
The study showed that 80% of patients who were not undergoing psychiatric treatment and who died of suicide reported not to have suicidal thoughts when asked by their psychiatrist or GP.
“If you meet someone who has suicidal ideation there is a 98 per cent chance that they are not going to suicide,” said Professor Large, an international expert on suicide risk assessment who also works in the emergency department of a major Sydney hospital.
“But what we didn’t know was how frequently people who go on to suicide have denied having suicidal thoughts when asked directly,” he added.
“This study proves we can no longer ration psychiatric care based on the presence of suicidal thoughts alone. We need to provide high-quality, patient-centred care for everyone experiencing mental illness, whether or not they reveal they are experiencing suicidal thoughts,” Professor Large said.
About one in 10 people will have suicidal ideation in their lifetime. But the study showed suicidal ideation alone was not rational grounds for deciding who gets treatment and who does not, Professor Large said.
“We know that suicide feeling is pretty common and that suicide is actually a rare event, even among people with severe mental illness,” Professor Large added.
Suicidal ideation tells us an awful lot about how a person is feeling, their psychological distress, sometimes their diagnosis and their need for treatment but it’s not a meaningful test of future behaviour.
Suicidal feelings can fluctuate rapidly and people may suicide very impulsively after only a short period of suicidal thoughts.
But, people had good reasons not to disclose thoughts of suicide, fearing stigma, triggering over-reactions or upsetting family and friends, and being involuntarily admitted for psychiatric treatment, Professor Large said.
Professor Large emphasized that clinicians should not assume that patients experiencing mental distress without reporting suicidal ideas were not at elevated risk of suicide.