302 suicides around the Maltese islands since January 2005
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.