Cyprus Mail

Suicide rate stable but doctors call for national strategy

The ministry of health's 2018-2020 strategic plan states that prevention programmes would focus on children and adolescents

More than 400 people in Cyprus have committed suicide over the past decade, the Cyprus Psychologists’ Association (Cypsa) said on Wednesday.

Suicide Prevention is this year’s focus of World Mental Health Day on Thursday.

Cypsa said Cyprus sees 36 to 40 suicides per year and that the number was relatively stable after peaking at 45 such deaths, mainly men, in 2013 following the financial crisis, the association said.

It also said the risk of suicide among women was smaller than that of their male counterparts.

According to Cypsa there is no national strategic plan in Cyprus for suicide prevention, although the ministry of health’s 2018-2020 strategic plan states that prevention programmes would focus on children and adolescents, aiming at the effective management of depression in younger people.

Last month a 15-year-old boy, Stylianos was found dead by his father at a farm in a village in the Nicosia district. Following reports of abject poverty, psychological problems and domestic violence in the boy’s family, social welfare services have found themselves under scrutiny over whether they had handled the case properly and whether the boy’s death could have been prevented.

The boy’s younger siblings, eight and 10, were later removed from their family home and are in care as investigations into the case continue.

“A single and comprehensive national plan for suicide prevention, as well as public debate on the issue, are required,” Cypsa said, adding that government and society should work to prevent the phenomenon with the help of psychologists.

There were many psychological and social interventions that could be implemented to promote prevention and treatment among young people, Cypsa added.

Around 2,000 people a day commit suicide worldwide and it is the third leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 19, according to the World Health Organisation.

“Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide,” the international body said.


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