Suicides in Netherlands on the rise

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RNW

The number of suicides in the Netherlands should be brought down, according to Dutch Health Minister Edith Schippers.

Figures released by the Health Ministry show that the registered number of suicides in the Netherlands has gone up by 6 percent for the second year running. The two major groups of victims are young men aged below 19, and men in the 40 - 60 age bracket.

The minister announced that measures will be taken to prevent people from killing themselves by jumping before trains. Railside locations with a recent history of suicides will get better fencing, and closed circuit TV cameras will be used to monitor these spots. Some 12 percent of cases involve people throwing themselves onto railway tracks before approaching trains.

Recent Dutch suicide figures 2009 - 1524 2008 - 1435 2007 - 1353 2006 - 1524

Figures released by the Health Ministry show that the registered number of suicides in the Netherlands has gone up by 6 percent for the second year running. The two major groups of victims are young men aged below 19, and men in the 40 - 60 age bracket.

Amsterdam Free University Professor of Suicide Prevention Ad Kerkhof told magazine last year that the 2009 increase of suicides could be due to the economic recession, although this cannot be backed statistically.

Mental health It was a policy aim of the previous cabinet to bring the number of self-inflicted deaths down by 5 percent every year, but Minister Schippers said that given the actual figures, that aim is not realistic.

In August last year, rail infrastructure company ProRail said that about half of the people killing themselves on railways are current or former patients of mental care institutions. ProRail said at the time it wanted to work with the institutions to bring the suicide rate down. Trials with improved railside fencing near Eindhoven appeared successful.

ProRail was also considering a programme to establish contacts between train drivers who are traumatised by suicides, and potential suicidees, who might be made to change their minds when they hear about the trauma such acts inflict on railway staff.  


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