Six teenage suicides in two weeks

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Two out of the six Belgian teenagers were discovered in time.

02 June 2008

BELGIUM - The Flemish Centre for Suicide Prevention has raised the alarm on the increasing number of suicides in Belgium.

In just one week, 4 teenagers took their lives while 2 others failed at their attempt to do so.

On Thursday, two teenagers took their lives in the city of Charleroi in Wallonia. The girls, aged 15 and 16, left a note saying they felt misunderstood and they hanged themselves.

That very same day, two other girls attempted to commit suicide at their secondary school in Zaventem in Flemish Brabant province. The teenagers took an overdose of pills but were discovered in time.

A week ago, two teenagers jumped towards their deaths from their school roof. The incidents happened independently of one another, in East Flanders and Antwerp province.

Perfectionism and low self-esteem
The number of recent suicides in Belgium has alarmed both the authorities and the people at the Flemish Centre for Suicide Prevention.

According to Grieke Forceville of the Suicide Prevention Hotline, the numbers of young callers has not increased dramatically. “But then teenagers tend to use our chat room to talk about their problems,” Forceville says.

Whether the increased number of suicides among teenagers has anything to do with exam stress is not clear. Detectives have been put on the case to examine whether the suicides are linked to the internet, as was recently the case in Wales.

Meanwhile, teachers and parents are asked to remain vigilant, especially when dealing with teenagers that are perfectionist by nature and suffer from low self-esteem.

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