Hungary seems to still have one of the highest rates in the world when it comes to suicide, alcoholism, gambling, smoking and drug abuse per capita, experts said. Just recently a man set himself on fire and jumped of Budapest’s Szabadsag bridge (ironically the meaning of szabadsag implies liberty). Jumping of bridges has been quite a favorite past-time for many suicidal Hungarians who intend to succeed.
In the late 1800s the St Margaret bridge was inaugurated. Many suicidal Hungarians allegedly help the initiation ceremony making daily news headlines. The rate of suicide was so high that on Aug 22, 1877 Hungarian poet Janos Arany, dedicated a poem to suicide victims called ‘hidavatas’ (bridge inauguration), which summarizes many of the reasons of individuals who were desperate and disillusioned and desperate individuals took their lives at the new bridge. Victims included people from all walks of life, all genders and ages.
His poem was accompanied by graphic illustration by Mihaly Zichy (see picture). This ballad was based on the superstition of the day that the authentic inauguration of a bridge can only be done via suicide. Arany shows that it isn’t hard to find suicidal candidates who fall victim to the trend at a time when human morals are low and materialism dominates the civic world. The line of suicidal people in retrospect represent mankind’s tragic end.
Statistics show that in the 19th century Hungary was world leader in suicides.
Currently annually an average 32 out of 100,000 Hungarians commit suicide. It may seem small in number, but experts said that this is almost three times higher than in the US. The core of suicides between 1990 and 2000 reportedly occurred in south-eastern rural Hungarian town of Kiskunhalas, experts revealed. They claimed that the town’s suicide rate was two-thirds higher than the Hungarian average (53 out of 100,000). A study showed suicides in the sunny and laid back Mediterranean region (Spain, Italy and Greece) were only seven out of 100,000 per year.
This prompted an increasing number of international experts to establish a joint project to highly train experts to handle patients suffering high depression. About five years later the number of suicides fell back considerably, reports said. The full results of the Hungarian study were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in a paper titled ‘A Suicide Prevention Program in a Very High Suicide Rate Region.’ Authors included Drs. Katalin Szanto, Sandor Kalmar, Herbert Hendin, Zoltan Rihmer and J. John Mann.