Suicide: the leading cause of death among young Spaniards

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World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) highlights the need to address the increase in self-harm and suicide among all ages, particularly children and adolescents. The day aims to raise awareness about prevention, reduce stigma and promote understanding that suicide is preventable.

A worrying trend in the child and youth population

As the understanding of youth mental health advances, new perspectives on how to address this challenge emerge. The Report on the Evolution of Suicide in Spain among children and young people (2000-2021) reflects that there is a significant increase in the number of suicides among adolescents aged 12-17, with an increase of 32,35% between 2019 and 2021, representing a change from 34 to 45 deaths. In addition, it is important to note that, in contrast to the overall trend, the distribution of cases by sex in this group is almost equal, with approximately 50% of suicides occurring in men and women. In 2021, the latest year with complete data available, 336 suicides were recorded in the population aged 12-29 in Spain. Suicide prevention becomes a crucial priority, as it has become the leading cause of death among young people in Spain..

An increase in cases of self-harm In recent years, self-harm has established itself as a worrying way of managing distress in the absence of adaptive responses to painful situations. In many cases, self-harm can have fatal consequences, as warned by experts at the López Ibor Clinic. Self-harm has increased 56-fold in the last 13 years, with a growth rate of +5.514%, according to data from the ANAR Foundation (Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk).

"The trend of increasing self-harm and suicide among young people is an urgent call to society to strengthen support systems, encourage communication and promote mental health. The best tool to tackle this problem is prevention through multidisciplinary strategies and professional care, which is how we approach it at the Clinic. We must work together with families, educators and health professionals".

What are the reasons for the increase in self-harm? The general requirement to apply for jobs.

  • The need for acceptance in majority groups.
  • Low tolerance for discomfort reinforced by immediacy.
  • Hopelessness and despair in situations where one is not in control of circumstances.
  • The powerlessness that is generated when no help is forthcoming.

Tips to prevent suicide among young people

On this World Suicide Prevention Day, it is essential to highlight the importance of prevention and appropriate help. Here are some tips that unveil theos experts of the López Ibor Clinic to prevent suicide among young people:

  1. Encourage communication: Maintaining open lines of communication with young people is essential. Listening to their concerns and emotions without judgement can make a difference.
  2. Identify warning signs: Watch for significant changes in behaviour, such as social withdrawal, extreme sadness, irritability, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities and mentions of suicide.
  3. Promote professional helpEncourage young people to seek help from mental health professionals when necessary. Talk to them about therapy and available resources.
  4. Remove the stigma: Foster an environment where talking about mental health is not taboo. Educate about stigma and the importance of seeking support without shame.
  5. Emotional skills education: Teach young people to manage stress, anxiety and emotions in a healthy way, promoting emotional resilience.
  6. Online monitoring: Monitor the use of social media and be aware of possible cyberbullying or bullying situations.
  7. Active participation: It is very important to get involved in young people's lives and be present in their daily activities. Showing genuine interest can make a difference.
  8. Promoting suicide awareness: Educating young people about the risks of suicide and where to find help is key. Raising awareness of prevention resources can save lives.
  9. Eliminate access to lethal meansKeep out of reach of young people any object that can be used for self-harm or suicide.
  10. Support in seeking professional help: If a young person is at risk, seek professional help immediately. Do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation.

On this World Suicide Prevention Day, let us remember that prevention and the right support can make a difference in the lives of young people at risk. It is important to work to create a safe and supportive environment for all ages.