Expatica news

Belgium marks suicide prevention day

10 September 2004

BRUSSELS – Belgium is participating in the world suicide prevention day which takes place on Friday.

Every year in Belgium there are more deaths by suicide than through traffic accidents.

The worst affected groups are men over 45 and old people saddened by loneliness, or by ending up in an old people’s home or by the loss of a spouse.

According to the Centre for Suicide Prevention (CPS), although men are more successful at ending their lives, women make more attempts, it was revealed.

This is mainly because men choose to end their lives more dramatically, for instance by shooting themselves, while women opt normally for an overdose.

The CPS, which operates in the French Belgian community, has confirmed that suicides are rising constantly.

By contrast the number of phone calls to the centre are falling.

The director of CPS has attributed this to a change in procedure on the emergencey helpline, 0800 32 123, which keeps the caller waiting for 15 seconds before speaking to a counsellor.

The new measure was introduced to deter the growing number of fake calls but has the unfortunate consequence of putting off genuine clients, who are too distressed to wait.

CPS, which has been operating in the French community, handled 24,000 calls last year.

In Flanders, the number of calls taken by the Centrum ter Preventie van Zelfmoord (CPZ) will rise 30 percent on last year’s figures, due to a greater public awareness of the number.

However, the exact number of suicides is difficult to determine as many are not reported as such due to feelings of shame or even to claim life insurance.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news