Dutch gov't pushes €2 mil. more into suicide prevention

Paul Blokhuis

The government is pushing an extra 2 million euros per year into suicide prevention foundation 113 Zelfmoordpreventie, State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health announced on Wednesday. He hopes that this extra money will help reduce the number of suicides and attempts thereto in the Netherlands, NOS reports.

Until now 113 received an annual subsidy of 3.4 million euros. That amount is now increasing to 5.4 million euros. "Every suicide represents a world of sorrow and powerlessness", Blokhuis said. "We must continue to make every effort to reduce the number of suicides."

Blokhuis believes 113 can do a lot with the extra subsidy. "With the extra money 113 can, for example, train many senior aid workers, who in turn can train many more juniors, who in turn can support many more volunteers. All that leads to many more conversations with higher quality that can be held with people who really need help."

Earlier this month Statistics Netherlands reported that the number of suicides among teenagers increased alarmingly last year. A total of 81 teens between the ages of 10 and 20 committed suicide, compared to 48 in 2016. The total number of suicides also increased from 1,894 to 1,917.

In addition to the extra money for 113, Blokhuis is also making a total of 15 million euros available for research and local initiatives on suicide prevention. Extra attention will be paid to reducing suicides among young people in the LGBTQ community, including with videos in which parents tell how they supported their children. 

Those in the Netherlands who are suffering from depression or contemplating suicide may call counselors at Sensoor, 0900-0767 (5 ct./min.), or call their volunteers at a local number. 113 Zelfmoordpreventie is also available 24/7 at number 0900-0133 A list of suicide crisis hotlines outside the Netherlands is available on Wikipedia.