World Suicide Prevention Day

In the framework of World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, the Dean of the College of Psychology in Madrid, José Antonio Luengo Latorre, in an article in EFEsalut, calls for action now

It is not always easy to find the right and opportune moment to open a path, to clear and remove the obstacles that allow you to find an exit, a light in the tunnel, a window through which fresh air enters, passing out the dark, the darkness, what it seems that it does not want to be seen, and, therefore, to be faced in the prevention of suicide.

It seems that the time to make visible the phenomenon of suicide in a sensitive, dignified, ethical, scientific and responsible way has arrived. To waste it would be a terrible and unforgivable act of imprudence, insolvency and incompetence.

And, if we look head-on at the numbers who decide to take their own lives each year, it is palpable evidence that this society cannot afford more. We are already quite late in this race to go deeper in a determined way in the visualization of a chakra that splits the human being in two, cracks its entrails and produces an incurable wound in our social organization.

The Dean of the College of Psychology in Madrid, José Antonio Luengo Latorre/Photo provided

World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, is a day for numbers, yes. But not only.

Without explicit and deep mention of the pain and tragedy they entail, the suffering that accompanies them and the social failure that lies at the heart of the phenomenon, the numbers always end up passing without the impact they should cause.

The latest figures we know, corresponding to the year 2020, place the phenomenon at almost 4000 people who in Spain died by suicide. We know there are many more.

It is not easy to estimate this surcharge on official data. But it is well known that there are a good number of people who decided to distance themselves forever from everything with a self-inflicted death and who are not recorded as such in the official figures of the INE.

We also know, although it is still an estimate, that for every person who dies by suicide there may be 20 more who have attempted it.

And that each dead person does so in a context in which between 6 and 10 people will be missing almost for life: the so-called survivors: Mothers, fathers, children, siblings, grandparents, friends, work colleagues…

Today, now, here

The weather is today. Life is now. The place is here, where we are. International policies and programs are essential. The work that WHO has been developing for decades in shaping the broad and diverse scenarios around suicide prevention in the world is as extraordinary as it is little known in depth and scarcely taken into account by state policies, projects and plans and local

It is essential to enable upcoming projects that deepen the need to work decisively in the implementation of prevention programs following the model of the World Health Organization, but conditioning it appropriately to each reality.

Let’s talk about the suicide prevention model that takes into substantive consideration the main types of actions: (1) the universal, which affects the entire population, regardless of the risk of suicide that each person might have; (2) the selective one, which targets groups with certain socio-demographic, biological or psychological characteristics that increase the risk of suicide, and (3) the indicated one, which targets specific individuals who are highly vulnerable to presenting certain signs of behavioral risk suicidal or a highly associated disorder.

Hope and action: public health challenge

During these years, the slogans that have supported the public campaigns on the occasion of the celebration of the International Day for the Prevention of Suicide have varied.

In 2021 the motto was established Creating Hope through Actionwhich remains for this 2022.

The vision set out in 2021 by the WHO through the publication of its Live Life Guide it represents a magnificent tool for the design of contextualized policies and programs around the world.

Call the agency now. And the most important message that we want to convey is the ability that the whole community can have to effectively attack the phenomenon, understood as a real problem, but also a public health challenge, always through the sustained development of projects that they address its prevention.

State prevention plan

It is in this context that the need for a State Suicide Prevention Plan takes on real substance and strength.

A Plan that integrates regional and local policies through a mental health strategy, agreed upon and well budgeted, that definitively puts an end to the shortcomings in terms of human resources, structure and research (in terms of health, education and social services) and enables safe spaces and based on scientific evidence for the appropriate development of the “action” to which the WHO points out as an indispensable element here and now.

The Official College of Psychology in Madrid has decided to contribute decisively to the visibility of the phenomenon through numerous measures included in the “Let’s Talk about Suicide” Project.

A project that aims to shed light on a silenced, hidden, stigmatized reality with a comprehensive, scientific, current approach, where all prevention agents, from professionals in the different areas of psychology and members of the third sector, give voice to the need to adequately attend to a public health problem from the different axes of action. The time is today, now.

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