Spain is among several countries that are putting significant resources into mental health services
Mental health is a priority objective of Spain’s public policies. It forms part of the Public Agenda to make it visible and end the stigmas and taboos around this illness. Far too many suffer in silence, and it’s time to bring this issue to the forefront.
Today, the Minister for Health, Carolina Darias, announced the formation of a 024 helpline that will be free, accessible, immediate, confidential and staffed by experts to support both people who may be suicidal and their families and loved ones. The 024 helplines will be connected to the emergency services while providing anonymity. “A person with suicidal behaviour does not want to die but wants to stop suffering.” Said Minister for Health, Carolina Darias
Suicide is the leading cause of external death in Spain and the leading cause of death in young people. According to The National Statistics Institute (INE) data, in 2020, there were 3,491 deaths by suicide in Spain, which was 7.4% more than in 2019. The Minister for Health stressed that the 024 telephone number is a commitment of the Government of Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, and a demand from society, which has increased in recent years.
The suicide hotline will involve the participation of experts to intervene in complex, high-risk situations. In the first phase, the Red Cross will manage the telephone lines while the Ministry for Health finishes with the final tender for the service. The 024 team will consist of a service manager, 11 supervisors and 26 operators, all of whom have experience and expertise in managing this type of intervention.
The hotline is quite accessible, ensuring all citizens can access the 024 services. Interpreters bridge language barriers with real-time translation. What’s more, video-interpretation services for sign language users are available.