The Malta Independent 17 October 2019, Thursday

Two associations urge creation of action plan to reduce suicide rate

Thursday, 10 October 2019, 19:08 Last update: about 6 days ago

Two local associations have urged the creation of an action plan to reduce the suicide rate in Malta.

The Malta Association of Public Health Medicine and the Maltese Association of Psychiatry said that there are 20 suicides by men, and two by women yearly in Malta.

The two released a statement on World Mental Health Day, highlighting the importance of suicide prevention. For each adult who dies committing suicide, there are 20 more who attempt it, they said, while highlighting the impact this has on families, friends and communities.

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"Suicide is a serious local and global public health problem that needs to be tackled urgently. The truth is that every suicide is preventable. Since suicide is a complex issue, suicide prevention efforts require coordination and collaboration among multiple sectors of society, including health, education, labour, business, justice, law, politics and the media."

The groups highlighted that a number of measures can be taken to reduce the number of suicides, including through alcohol policies that reduce the harmful use of alcohol, reducing access to the means of suicide ( like firearms and certain medications), early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress, training of non-specialised health workers in the assessment and management of suicidal behaviour, follow-up care for people who attempted suicide and provision of community support.

The two organisations encouraged the upcoming budget to be explicit in its focus on mental health, and urged the authorities to facilitate the recognised expert bodies in this area in order to develop an appropriate action plan, containing concrete and funded measures aimed at preventing and decreasing suicides by at least 10% by 2020, in line with WHO recommendations.


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