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.
More suicide cases were counted this year than in previous years. Especially young adults up to the age of thirty are taking their own lives. A worrying aspect is that the suicide rate is generally not decreasing or leveling off, but continuing to rise, according to a spokesperson for 113 Suicide Prevention, reports NU.nl.
The red month, that’s what the Current Dutch Suicide Registration Committee (CANS) calls it when more than 30 suicide cases are counted in one month. This February, the calendar turned red as even more than 30 young adults took their own lives. Compared to last year’s averages of just over 20 suicide cases per month, this year’s trend has drastically worsened. According to clinical psychologist Maryke Geerdink, manager at 113 Suicide Prevention, the increase is much greater than expected.
One of the reasons for the worrying trend is due to mental health problems. For instance, many of the young adults who took their own lives suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts, RIVM reported at the end of 2022. According to CANS chairwoman Renske Gilissen, 40 percent of people who committed suicide were known to mental health care.
This phenomenon is also reflected at the Suicide Prevention hotline, as increasingly “young adult callers are talking about loneliness and depression,” Geerdink told NU.nl. Overall, the number of telephone calls and chat conversations at suicide prevention line increases every year, reaching up to 450 calls per day, writes NU.nl.
However, several factors play a role in this case and cannot be attributed and explained solely by mental illness, Geerdink and Gilissen stress.
The last three years during the coronavirus pandemic have also evidently led to an increase in the suicide rate. During this time, RIVM recorded that 15 percent more young people took their own lives than before the pandemic. That’s because it was difficult for young adults to get help at the time, as fewer mental health services were available, Geerdink said.
However, this trend persists and even after the end of the coronavirus pandemic, no fewer suicide cases can be recorded. For Geerdink, this is due in part to the psychiatric care that contributes to the problem. That’s because waiting lists at psychiatric institutions are enormous. “The desperation among people with suicidal thoughts and other mental health problems is therefore increasing,” Geerdink told NU.nl.
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