June 5, 2023
Declining suicide rates in Europe may be linked to increased preventative initiatives: report

Declining suicide rates in Europe may be linked to increased preventative initiatives: report

Warning: This contains references to suicide.

Psychologists in Europe say increased suicide prevention methods may have played a roll in the declining rate of suicide related deaths among European nations within the last decade.

This national statistic review by the European Psychiatric Association looked at suicide rates in 38 European countries and concluded that suicide death rates drop 20 per cent within the last decade. In 2011, 20 deaths linked to suicide were reported for every 100,000 people in Europe, however this number dropped to 16 per 100,000 by 2019.

While 22 countries showed unchanged rates, 15 countries have shown significant change particularly Lithuania which has had a significantly high rate since the late 1990s. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Lithuania reported a rate of 31.8 suicides per 100,000 people in 2011 but in 2019 that decreased to 20.2.

Of course, since 2020, major global events like the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have likely contributed to changes to these rates, nonetheless the researchers say the results are encouraging.

“Psychiatric disorders are related to an overwhelming proportion of these cases,” researcher Anna Gimienez said in a news release. “In the last years, several specific interventions and action plans for suicide prevention have been implemented in a number of European countries, and we believe that these might have had an impact on suicide trends.”

Some of the initiatives involve WHO’s prevention control plan to introduce early identification, assessment and management to people with suicidal behaviours, as well as reducing access to means of suicide like firearms or specific medications. However, not all methods are one-size, WHO states, saying effective measures need to intersect with all aspects of society including education, labour, and politics to help the various and different people suicide can affect.

“This European study is very interesting, showing that there are large heterogeneities between countries, and that for a relatively important number of countries, it is indeed possible to reduce the number of deaths by suicide per year,” said former president of the European Psychiatric Association, Philip Gorwood in a news release.

According to Eurostat, 1.1 per cent of deaths reported in the EU are linked to suicide, 77 per cent of which involve men and 31 per cent of suicides are reported in people between the ages of 45 and 60.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources that are available.

Canada Suicide Prevention Helpline (1-833-456-4566)

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (1 800 463-2338)

Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566 or text 45645)

Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)

If you need immediate assistance call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.  

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