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Suicide, the first cause of unnatural death in Spain, and an alarming increase among young people

Friday, September 10, 2021, 1:54 p.m. | Updated 5:44 p.m.


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According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in 2019 3,671 people -2,771 men and 900 women- committed suicide in Spain, “being Suicide is already the first cause of unnatural death in Spain, a figure that has skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic, an especially alarming trend among young people between 15 and 29 years old with a 250% increase in suicide attempts. suicide in this period and age range,” warns Carmen Barceló, clinical psychologist at the Quirónsalud Málaga Hospital. Specialists relate the data boom to the outbreak of the coronavirus and its consequences, especially among adolescents, “because have seen very limited socialization tools fundamental for their development».

In our country there is an average of 10 suicides daily; one every two and a half hours. The Suicide Observatory in Spain points out that deaths by suicide already double those of traffic accidentshomicides multiply by 13 and gender violence by 67.

Doctor Carmen Barceló

Last Friday, September 10, the International Day for Suicide Prevention was commemorated, deaths that according to the WHO could be avoided in 30% of cases.

Faced with such alarming figures, prevention is the best asset. WHO commemorates the Day Suicide Prevention International on September 10under the motto “Create hope through action” and pointing out that “30% of suicides could be prevented». In this sense, in most cases, according to Carmen Barceló, alarm signs can be identified, which serve as indicators that we must know in order to prevent and intervene. «It is wrong to determine that the majority of people who commit suicide want to die. Most people with suicidal behavior want to be definitively freed from their crisis situation; they speak of the desperation associated with that vital moment of crisis. What they don’t want is to live the way they are doing; If your life situation changes, your death wish probably will too. Therefore, it is essential to detect these crises to find a solution. In fact, adds the psychologist from the Therapy, Rehabilitation and Psychology Unit of Quirónsalud Málaga, “it is estimated that 75% of people who have completed suicide gave some prior warning. These warnings should be understood as requests for help and it is recommended to explore, ask and investigate the meaning of these expressions.

Another false myth that leads to fatal results is believing that talking about suicide encourages you to do it.. The expert recommends, on the contrary, offering positive and life-friendly reasoning, facilitating an alternative vision of the situation, offering support and possible solutions to the difficulties she describes, listening with equanimity, as well as giving the attention and space that person needs to express themselves.

Warning signs

Among the signs to which we must pay special attention, psychologist Carmen Barceló warns of some verbal ones, such as «negative comments about oneself or one’s own life, as well as verbalizations related to the suicidal act or death“such as life sucks, you would be better off without me, I want to disappear, it’s not worth continuing to live…” On the other hand, it also advises to be aware of non-verbal signs, such as sudden changes in behavior: increased irritability, increased alcohol consumption, sudden calm or tranquility, or giving away very personal objects or closing certain matters for no reason.

Risk factor’s

Among the factors that are usually behind suicidal behavior, we can highlight the presence of a Mental illness, such as depression, bipolarity, alcoholism or substance abuse, schizophrenia or eating problems; a chronic disease, such as cancer, AIDS, diabetes or multiple sclerosis; either certain psychological factors, such as anxiety, hopelessness, impulsiveness and aggressiveness. Likewise, among the data from the Suicide Observatory in Spain it can also be noted that The risk of suicide increases with age, especially in menwith the highest rates in men over 79 years of age.

With all of the above, the need to normalize and destigmatize mental disorders also becomes obvious. Giving visibility to this type of situation helps people who may be experiencing something similar or those around them to detect and mitigate their feelings of pain, shame or guilt and request professional attention. Faced with this, they can contact their nearest health center, a mental health professional or even a trusted person to whom they can express the discomfort they feel.

“Nowadays, There are telephones with 24-hour attention that provide emotional support in times of crisis and implement the so-called security plan that corresponds to each case., which can benefit the person in question. Likewise – Carmen Barceló continues explaining – there are associations specialized in prevention and intervention that can be contacted at any time, both the person in crisis and their family and friends, so that they receive information on what their actions may be.

More information about resources to help prevent suicide, here:


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