Current Affairs
Between 30 and 40 persons annually commit suicide

Although they are not broadcast on the media, annually between 30 and 40 persons commit suicide in Malta. On the occasion on the UN Day for Suicide Prevention the Fondazzjoni Nazzjonali Sokkors fil-Pront (National First Aid Foundation) has been established. The scope is to provide help and support to those contemplating suicide or are passing through a bad mental phase.

Statistics released by Crisis Resolution Malta show the rate of suicides is an average of three per month, suicides that may be prevented.

The Foundation’s founder, psychiatrist Dr Mark Xuereb, said the Foundation will provide support to those passing through a mental crisis problem as well as to those attempting suicide, together with relatives of suicide victims or attempted suicides and those who self-inflict wounds and injuries. He said the Foundation is being guided by Befrienders Worldwide and Samaritans UK.

He maintained the suicide rate in Malta is increasing particularly by persons aged from 15 to 25 years.

Dr Xuereb said the Foundation is working toward mounting a number of telephone services for emergency purposes to help those contemplating suicide or their relatives.

The psychiatrist said a crisis line will be established based on three numbers. The team will be multidisciplinary and will not only be made up of doctors and psychologists who are of course essential, but also economists, lawyers and persons from the educational sector, as well as the social sector. These will provide the best necessary skills to help the Foundation attain its aims.

For the inaugural launch singer Joe Demicoli composed and wrote the song ‘Irridek Tgħix’ (‘I want you to live’) as he himself had suffered a number of years depressed.

Demicoli said he had passed through a bad mental state for six or seven years. Unless one has actually experienced this state one cannot really understand the sorrowful mental state being experienced. Even though on the surface a person may laugh and smile, deep down in the very roots there is a dark depression throughout. One cannot enjoy oneself or be relaxed anywhere even though one may appear cheerful. Demicoli said this has to be experienced to be appreciated.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that worldwide every 40 seconds a person commits suicide, the majority being aged under the age of 45. Dr Alexandra Fleischmann from WHO said it is a matter of concern that suicides are alarmingly increasing in females aged between 15 and 19 years.

Dr Fleischmann said, “More than half of suicides occur in the younger ages, which is below the age of 45 years. And notably, for young girls of 15 to 19-year old, we have suicide as the second leading cause of death. So, this is very sad news actually, for the teenage girls.”

The WHO report shows that in developed countries the rate of male suicides is triple that of female victims. This contrasts to the rate in countries still developing where the gender rate is equal. The Organisation is urging Governments throughout the world to adopt suicide prevention plans to help and support persons undergoing stress.

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