302 suicides around the Mal­tese is­lands since Jan­uary 2005

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

302 suicides have oc­curred around the Mal­tese is­lands since the be­gin­ning of 2005, The Malta In­de­pen­dent has learnt, with 18 hav­ing taken place be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber this year.

This news­room had re­quested the data from the po­lice depart­ment. The most suicides recorded within the pe­riod was in 2015, where 36 such acts oc­curred. The year with the low­est amount of reg­is­tered suicides (17) was 2005. The age group with the high­est sui­cide rate are those aged 40-59, ac­count­ing for 126 of the to­tal amount.

The age group with the least recorded num­ber of suicides dur­ing the pe­riod are those aged up to 25, with only 27 suicides recorded.

The sta­tis­tics, when cal­cu­lated, show that the av­er­age num­ber of suicides per year be­tween Jan­uary 2005 and De­cem­ber 2015 amounts to 25.8, re­sult­ing in 2.15 sui­cide rate per month.

News re­ports read that sui­cide is the 17 high­est cause of death on the is­land.

Ear­lier this year, The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day spoke to the CEO of the Rich­mond Foun­da­tion, Stepha­nia Dimech Sant, to ask what is be­ing done to tackle the is­sue and how peo­ple can help. As the Foun­da­tion’s Men­tal First Aid Guide­lines put it: “Sui­cide can be pre­vented. Most sui­ci­dal peo­ple do not want to die. They sim­ply do not want to live with the pain. Openly talk­ing about sui­ci­dal thoughts and feel­ings can save a life.”

When it comes to pre­ven­tion, Ms Dimech Sant had ex­plained that ed­u­ca­tion and re­mov­ing stigma is in­valu­able. “We need to make peo­ple more aware that there is help avail­able and the idea of reach­ing out must be in­grained in so­ci­ety,” she said, adding that peo­ple are still very cau­tious about the sub­ject. “To tackle stigma, you need to tackle the fear of the un­known.

There are a num­ber of helplines in place where one can call, in­clud­ing Aġen­z­ija Ap­poġġ’s 179 sup­port line, the Cri­sis Res­o­lu­tion Malta cam­paign on 9933-9966, the on­line chat ser­vice for youth called Kel­limni, and the Rich­mond Foun­da­tion’s own Ca­sual Con­tact Sys­tem – reach­able on 2144-0324.

The Foun­da­tion’s CEO had sug­gested that a po­ten­tial ‘Cri­sis In­ter­ven­tion Team’ that could be called out to any place around the is­land where some­one was in cri­sis be set up. It would be led by trained pro­fes­sion­als who would know ex­actly how to ap­proach some­one in the kind of vul­ner­a­ble sit­u­a­tion which they could po­ten­tially be in so as not to ex­ac­er­bate the prob­lem.

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