Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

Breaking the Chains: A Comprehensive Approach to Addressing Global Suicide Rates

Breaking the Chains: A Comprehensive Approach to Addressing Global Suicide Rates

In a world teeming with progress, one persistent challenge darkens our collective horizon – the rising specter of suicide. Behind the cold statistics lie countless untold stories of despair, each one a testament to the urgent need for a compassionate and effective response. Let us delve into the stark realities that underscore the gravity of this issue.

The global landscape of suicide mortality rates is a sobering tableau. Over the years, the data reveals a consistent gender disparity, with male suicide rates consistently surpassing those of females. Between 2000 and 2019, the male suicide rate remained at an alarming average of 16.075%, overshadowing the female rate. While there has been a slight decrease in the overall rate, from 11.63% in 2000 to 9.33% in 2019, the persistence of high numbers and occasional spikes, like the one in 2013, signals an urgent need for intervention.

Economic disparities exacerbate the issue, as revealed by the Gender Distribution of Suicide Mortality Rates by Income Class. Notably, those with low income levels exhibit lower suicide rates (9.71% for males and 4% for females), hinting at a potential link between financial struggle and mental health. Paradoxically, the highest suicide rate is observed among high-income males, reaching a staggering 21.23%. The reasons behind this economic divergence merit careful consideration.

Zooming in on a country-by-country perspective, certain nations emerge as outliers, bearing the weight of exceptionally high suicide rates. Lesotho, Eswatini, the Russian Federation, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Ukraine, South Korea, Botswana, Latvia, and Hungary are among the nations grappling with disproportionately high suicide rates. Identifying patterns within these outliers offers crucial insights into potential factors contributing to the crisis.

We should collaborate on comprehensive mental health education programs to destigmatize mental health issues and foster a culture of open communication. Developing targeted support systems for individuals facing economic challenges will address the intricate relationship between financial struggles and mental health. Strengthening community support systems to identify and aid individuals at risk ensures that no one is left to battle their demons alone.

Comprehensive Strategies for Mental Health Advocacy against Suicide could be the following:

  • Collaborate with educational institutions to integrate mental health education into curricula, focusing on destigmatization, early detection, and coping mechanisms.
  • Implement awareness campaigns to reach a broader audience and enhance understanding of mental health issues.
  • Establish programs offering financial counseling, employment assistance, and mental health resources tailored to different income groups.
  • Foster partnerships with businesses to create inclusive work environments that prioritize employee well-being.
  • Develop community-based mental health initiatives, including support groups, helplines, and outreach programs.
  • Encourage local leaders to champion mental health awareness and facilitate resources at the grassroots level, strengthening community outreach efforts.

In conclusion, conducting pilot programs in select regions to assess the effectiveness of the proposed solutions is a necessary step. Moreover, utilizing quantitative and qualitative metrics, such as changes in suicide rates, public awareness, and community engagement, will help evaluate the impact of implementing these measures.


Upon validation, refining and scaling successful programs for broader implementation is the next logical step. Advocating for policy changes that prioritize mental health and allocate resources to address the multifaceted challenges contributing to the global suicide crisis is crucial. Remember, breaking the chains requires a collective effort – a united front against the darkness that shrouds the lives of those grappling with the heavy burden of despair.

Impact of education on women’s empowerment

Impact of education on women’s empowerment

“He beat me for a year, he would beat me with a belt, wiper sticks, and an empty trash can.
Every time, I would cry and beg him to stop, but he never did”
says Nisreen.

Growing up in Basra, Nisreen dreamed of pursuing an education, even though girls were not expected to complete high school.

Nisreen was forced to drop out of high school. When her relative from Baghdad suggested that she marry his son. She did not complete the education that would allow her to get a decent job, she was financially dependent on her husband. Nisreen is not the only one who is subjected to physical violence and keeps silent!

There are women who also believe that husband violence towards them is justified!

What if Nisreen continued her studies and got a Job?

She could have had totally different life!

Women’s education is a crucial condition for women’s empowerment, a woman who is educated is much more aware of her rights in first place to fight for them and not to accept or normalize any kind of violence. Education equips women with more skills and knowledge that qualify them for better job opportunities and financial independence as 85% of women who leave an abusive relationship return. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a large percentage of women who have returned to a relationship attribute their inability to handle their finances as a major contributing factor.

The first map above shows the literacy rates by country, and the circles highlight the percentage of violence against women. We can clearly see that in countries where literacy rate is low, the percentage of violence against women is higher. The map also shows that Africa has the lowest literacy rate.

When we look at the graph of early marriage by region, we note that Africa has the highest rate of early marriage. Most likely, women married at an early age could not continue their education and this could be a reason for the high level of violence against women.

A woman’s awareness of her rights is so important to women’s empowerment that when we look at the percentage of women who think a husband is justified in beating his wife and compare it to the literacy rate in the scatter plot, we find a strong negative correlation between the two “as the literacy rate increase, the percentage of women who believe a husband is justified to beat his wife decrease”

In conclusion, education is an important factor in women’s awareness of their rights and in reducing violence against women by providing better opportunities for women to have a job and be independent.
We recommend and suggest governments and international organizations to ensure that women have access to quality and appropriate education by implementing policies that mandate female education. This will increase their awareness of their own rights and increase their participation in jobs that will affect their independence and the interest of society as a whole.

Now, do you want to know what happened with Nisreen?

Nisreen’s aunt visited and suggested that she enroll in Women for Women International’s program (develop programs to provide skills, knowledge, and resources that create sustainable change for women )to give her some time away from the depression she felt at home.
With the support of the women in her class, Nisreen recognized that what was happening to her was not right. “My confidence grew, and I decided that I wanted to take action. I finally found the courage to tell my brothers about my husband’s beatings. I told them that I wanted a divorce.
“With my improved situation and the ability to earn income, I feel more confident now to face life and the future.”