Suicides increased notably during depths of economic crisis

Number of people taking their own life rose 11 percent in 2012

With Spain still locked in a deep crisis and unemployment soaring toward record levels, the number of suicides in Spain in 2012 jumped 11.3 percent from a year earlier to 3,539, according to figures released Friday by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

Suicide in that year was the main cause of unnatural death, above traffic accidents. Total deaths in 2012 increased by 3.9 percent from 2011 to 402,950.

Taking one's own life was much more frequent among males than females. Of the 3,539 cases registered in 2012, 2,724 were of men and 815 of women. Suicides were also concentrated in the age group 24-34 and were the second most common cause of death after tumors in this category.

However, although the crisis and the spike in the number of suicides coincide in time, experts were reluctant to argue that there is a cause-and-effect phenomenon. Santiago Durán-Sindreua, a psychiatrist who heads the suicide prevention plan at the Santu Pau Hospital in Barcelona said: “There is a coincidence in time between the two factors, but we cannot say there is a cause-and-effect relationship; that would be risky.”

 He added he did not believe the increase in the number of suicides is “alarming” because the figures were more or less within the same range as in years before the crisis broke in 2008. However, he said the rise was “striking” and should be examined by health authorities.

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