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Highest number of suicides in Spain since records began

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Suicides are the first cause of external death in Spain. According to the latest figures just published by the Institute of National Statistics (INE), covering the year 2022, 4,227 people took their own lives in Spain, which represents an increase of 5.6% compared to the previous year.

This figure represents the highest number of suicides since records began. These data highlight the importance of establishing preventive measures to reduce the number of suicides, in addition to identifying warning signs in people who may demonstrate suicidal behaviour.

In suicidal behaviour, as Daniel López, president of the Association of Professionals in Prevention and Postvention of Suicide Papageno, explains, three signs that can serve as a warning can occur. Frustrated belonging is the first of these signs, “one of the most important,” as López indicates, to identify suicidal behaviour. The second sign is related to perceived burden, “People who repeat to themselves ‘I’m a nuisance,’” he says. Thirdly, these signs are accompanied by a personality “with suicidal ideation.”

The direct comments about death, unusual goodbyes or risk behaviours that accompany the other three warning signs indicate that “the person has lost the fear of death,” says the president of Papageno. In this situation, López points out that the most important thing is to communicate with the person who presents any of these signs. “Anyone who sees any of these signs should ask the person directly if they have ever thought about harming themselves,” he says.

Likewise, as part of prevention, it is also essential not to judge. Furthermore, López insists on identifying true suicidal behaviours from others that are not. “For a person to think that they do not want to continue living is a sign of discomfort, but they do not always have to move on from there,” insists the president of the association. However, “the dangerous thing is when there is planning and the person has thought about how to do it,” he asserts.

However, all the people served by the association in recent years have agreed on the feeling of hopelessness, as indicated by the president of Papageno. This feeling is projected “into the future in those people who not only think that the present is bad, but also think about the future,” explains López.

Prevention plans should also be included among the tools to identify suicidal behaviours. To date, the most notable strategy of the Ministry of Health is Line 024 for attention to suicidal behaviour. This service can cover people at risk of suicide, as well as their family and friends. However, as López points out, “we do not have a national plan and the initiatives have been specific depending on the autonomous community.”

This service, in its first month, identified nearly 15,000 calls and referred more than 650 to emergency services. In this sense, López points out that, “if a person is in a life-threatening situation, this service is well connected to health systems,” so it can offer solutions. However, the president of the association assures that “the National Health System is not prepared to address this problem.”

Regarding this last statement, López insists on the figures: “We continue to be one of the European countries with the fewest mental health professionals per one hundred thousand inhabitants.” Furthermore, the spokesperson assures that suicidal behaviour “is not only a mental health problem, but depends on many other things,” and points to education.

In the educational system, psychological care differs by autonomous community. In the case of Andalusia, as López points out, “if a person has suicidal behaviour in an educational centre, they do not have a reference beyond the counsellor.” In addition to the absence of strategies at the school level, suicidal behaviour lacks communication at the family level in certain situations of daily life, as well as prevention programs at the work level. As the president of Papageno points out, it is necessary to create a strategy in which psychology professionals participate and prepare Spain for the increase in suicide cases.

The post Highest number of suicides in Spain since records began appeared first on Spain Today – Breaking Spanish News, Sport, and Information.

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