By Cristina Hodgson
THOUGH reports show a decline in suicide rates in Spain, it remains the leading external cause of death well above fatal traffic accidents or accidents in general.
An alarming 3,539 people died last year in Spain from suicide, and though it is a 3.8 per cent less than in 2017, it was the leading cause of unnatural death in Spain in 2018, and remained so in 2019.
After suicide, the main causes of unnatural deaths are through accidental falls, with 3,143 deaths reported (an increase of 2.8% since 2017) and drowning, submersion and suffocation, with 3,090 cases reported. In 2019 a total of 1.098 people died in traffic accidents.
“The Silent Pandemic”
In a recent article presented in the weekly Cermi.es bulletin, the president of the Spanish Mental Health Confederation, Nel Anxelu González Zapico, considered the problem of suicide to be “a silent pandemic” and called on public administrations to strengthen measures aimed at prevention, with actions such as creating a free three-digit suicide risk hotline, similar to the 016 hotline against gender violence.
González Zapico stressed that “suicide can be prevented”, but “for this to happen, the administration must take action”, since it is “an urgent issue” that affects “human lives”.
Suicide is a significant national social issue in the United Kingdom. In 2017 there were approximately 5,821 registered deaths by suicide in the United Kingdom, equating to an average of 16 suicides per day in the country. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the country.
It’s also a worldwide concern, about one person in 5,000–15,000 dies by suicide every year (1.4% of all deaths), with a reported global rate of 10.5 per 100,000 population.
Europe is the most suicidal region in the entire world, while the Eastern Mediterranean the least.