More asylum seekers from the “unaccompanied children” age bracket tend to kill themselves while waiting for a residence permit in Sweden. A survey by the Karolinska Institute put suicide as the leading cause of death in this age group, with an incidence ten times higher than that among their Swedish peers.

In 2017 alone, twelve adolescent asylum seekers committed suicide, according to a survey by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm conducted on behalf of the National Board of Health. By contrast, the figure was below ten in 2016, with no registered suicide cases within the group in 2015, national broadcaster SVT reported.

All the asylum seekers who took their lives in 2017 were boys and men under the age of 21. Almost all of them came from Afghanistan and had applied for a residence permit in 2015.

Most of them were going through the asylum process, with some of them already having been rejected. However, there were also those who had been granted the residence permit.

According to the report, suicide was the leading cause of death among unaccompanied children and adolescents. The incidence of self-harm and suicide attempts were clearly higher among the unaccompanied children compared with their peers who came to Sweden with a guardian.

The suicides rate among “unaccompanied minors” was thus 51.2 cases per 100,000 people in 2017, almost ten time that among their peers residing in Sweden (5.2 cases per 100,000 in 2016).