No increase in suicide last year
Those in the Netherlands in life threatening danger should immediately dial 112 for emergency services. Anyone suffering from depression or contemplating suicide may call 113 Zelfmoordpreventie at any time by dialing either 113 or 0800-0113. Counselors at De Luisterlijn may also be reached at 088-0767000, or volunteers may be reached at one of their local numbers. A list of suicide crisis hotlines outside the Netherlands is available on Wikipedia.
Researchers at Statistics Netherlands did not see the number of suicides increase in coronavirus year 2020, but do not rule out the possibility that the coronavirus will cause an increase later. They also do not know whether the number of suicides in specific groups, such as migrants or people with psychological problems, may have increased.
Last year, more than 1,800 people took their own lives in the Netherlands. That is comparable to the years before, Statistics Netherlands previously reported.
So far, researchers have not seen a clear effect on the number of suicides from the coronavirus outbreak and associated lockdown measures. Some scientists expressed the expectation that such an effect will occur in vulnerable groups, for example people with psychological problems. In the US, researchers see indications that the number of suicides among people with a migration background is increasing.
Statistics Netherlands has not yet investigated such specific groups and is therefore unable to say whether the pandemic will affect the number of suicides. Moreover, according to the researchers, it will only become clear later whether the virus had an impact on the number of suicides in the long term, for example because mental health care was postponed.
In 2020, Statistics Netherlands counted 10.5 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants, while this number was still around 10 in the 1950s and 60s. The statisticians see that the suicide rate partly follows economic trends. For example, the number of suicides increased after the credit crisis broke out in 2008. According to the researchers, the number of divorces also has an influence. "After the divorce peak of the 1970s, the suicide rate associated with divorce declined," they wrote.
But the decision to take your own life is rarely due to one clear case, according to Statistics Netherlands. The situation also differs from case to case. "That's why it is very difficult for cold statistics to do justice to the personal suffering that lies behind every suicide," said the statisticians.
In recent decades, the number of suicides among young people rose in relative terms. In 1950 it was 0.9 per 100,000 young people aged 10 to 20 and that number increased to 3.1 in 2020. That is still relatively low compared to older age groups.
Reporting by ANP