Reindeer herders more likely to commit suicide

Last year researchers in Sweden noticed that reindeer herders in the far north of the country were more likely to commit suicide than other Swedes.

Now, a study of the Sami, the indigenous people living in the far north of Scandinavia, has revealed the possible causes of the trend, according to Swedish Radio.

“I can definitely imagine that life as a reindeer herder could be a factor,” said herder Ola Hanersk, a friend of a fellow herder who took his life, from the village of Porjus.

It is often the younger men who spend long days on snow mobiles, driving seemingly endless distances managing the herds for very little money.

Lars Jakobsson, a researcher with the Norrland university hospital, said it is difficult for the herders to function in society.

“They might not know how to act when they meet those girls who have gone to school or have studied at the university, while they sat on a snowmobile most of the time,” Jakobsson told Swedish Radio.

“Plus you don’t have money or the means to do things other youngsters can. If you put all of that together, it isn’t hard to understand that a portion give up.”

There are 900 reindeer-herding companies in Sweden.