Rates of violence and mental health problems are soaring in the Muslim-majority region of the Eastern Mediterranean, a major study revealed this week.

According to a huge body of work from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, the region stretching from Morocco to Pakistan has seen a higher increase in suicide, murder, sexual assault and mental health problems rates than any other region in the world. 

The study covers several issues in the region, which is plagued by violence and conflict, over the past 25 years and concludes that "the future of the Middle East is grim".

The study focuses on the Eastern Mediterranean region, which is home to some 600 million people and includes 22 countries from the Maghreb, Horn of Africa, the Middle East - including the GCC - along with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The series of 15 reports, which looks at health issues in the region, was put together by more than 2,300 collaborators in 132 countries.

Here's a look at its most significant findings:

The region has the fastest increasing rates of violence in the world

The study found that suicide, homicide, and sexual assault are increasing at a much faster rate in the Eastern Mediterranean region than in any other region in the world. 

In 2015, nearly 30,000 people in the region committed suicide, while another 35,000 were murdered. This represents increases of 100 percent and 152 percent, respectively, over the past 25 years. 

Researchers note that statistics on suicide are probably underestimated "due to cultural and religious barriers, social stigma, and legal punishments that discourage victims, families, and governments from disclosing such information".

Meanwhile, during the same period, the numbers of deaths in other parts of the world witnessed a 19 percent increase from suicide and a 12 percent increase from interpersonal violence.

The figures exclude deaths in places that are at war, such as  Syria and Iraq. 

The study also notes that these violent acts killed 1.4 million people in 2015 in the region, apart from the repercussions of war, which accounted for around 144,000 deaths.

100 percent increase in suicide rates ... and not enough mental health specialists

According to the study, the region has seen a "sharp increase" in non-communicable diseases and mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

The former two are considered the most common mental conditions and they both affect women more than men.

"With globalization and urbanization of most societies, women may be exposed to numerous stressors, which have repercussions on the entire household, and children in particular," explains American University of Beirut's Dr. Raghid Charara, who took part in the study.

The study adds that hanging and poisoning are the most common methods of suicide in the region. 

Meanwhile, the region does not have adequate specialists to tackle mental health problems. 

The study found that the ratio of psychiatrists per 100,000 people is around 7 in the region, compared to a range from 9 to over 40 in European nations. 

In some countries such as Libya, Sudan, and Yemen, the ratio is as low as 0.5 practitioners per 100,000 people.

HIV patients are dying faster than in the rest of the world

Researchers found a 10-fold increase in deaths related to HIV/AIDS between 1990 and 2015, with most of the cases occurring in Djibouti, Somalia, and Sudan.

"In this region, individuals infected with HIV are dying faster than the rest of the world," says Dr. Charbel El Bcheraoui, an Assistant Professor at IHME. 

Dr. El Bcheraoui explains that figures indicate that HIV patients are not receiving proper treatment "in an era where HIV can be well controlled with the appropriate treatment regimens".

"The future of the Middle East is grim"

Dr. Ali Mokdad, the study's lead author, believes that the future of health in the region is in danger. 

"Intractable and endemic violence is creating a lost generation of children and young adults," he says. "The future of the Middle East is grim unless we can find a way to bring stability to the region."

The countries studied are Afghanistan, Egypt, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The whole report can be found here