Health ministry planning triple strategy against potential suicides

The fact is well known that some 86 percent of the country’s suicide victims are men, but the heath ministry reported Wednesday that the statistic is because many more women are unsuccessful at suicide.

Through August this year there were 625 cases of suicide attempts, and 59 percent of those involved were women. The ministry also said that the highest percentage of attempts was among the 15- to 24-year age group.

María Esther Anchía Ángulo said that September is the month with the highest number of suicides. She is a vice minister at the Ministerio de Salud and a physician. The monthly totals may be why Sept. 10 is world day for suicide prevention.

The vice minister noted that Costa Rica is unique among its neighbors in having a law that requires reporting of suicide attempts by health professionals and other public employees. Consequently the ministry has reasonably good statistics.

The data also showed that suicides here dropped from 343 to 313 between 2012 and 2013. The rate last year was 6.2 suicides per every 100,000 of population.

The ministry wants to lower that rate and announced three approaches Wednesday. The first will be directed to all residents and include programs to promote mental health. The ministry also wants to reduce the consumption of alcohol and also reduce the number of

ways persons can kill themselves. However, in Costa Rica nearly 60
percent of the suicides are from hanging, so the means always is available.

The ministry also wants to direct programs toward vulnerable groups, such as those victims of trauma or abuse, victims of disasters, refugees and migrants and family members of suicide victims.

Third, the ministry officials plan to direct attention to vulnerable individuals and develop more training for health professionals who work with them.

The suicide rate appears to be nearly constant over the years.

The suicide rate appears to be nearly constant over the years.

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