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Switzerland 'one of Europe's suicide capitals'

Published: 23 May 2012 10:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 May 2012 09:46 GMT+02:00

Between 15,000 and 25,000 people attempt to kill themselves in Switzerland every year, according to a new survey, confirming Switzerland's place as one of the suicide capitals of Europe.

 

The number of actual deaths from suicide is about 1,000 per year, a number that represents three times the number of deaths through road traffic accidents, newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported.

“We are one of the countries which traditionally has the highest figures in suicides. Not everybody is happy here,” Ambros Uchtenhagen, Professor Emeritus for Social Psychiatry at Zurich University told The Local.

The survey, conducted by Swiss market research company Isopublic, found that many people were either ill-informed or had misconceptions about depression and suicide. For example, the report showed that many believe suicide to be a well thought out and planned act.

“A suicide is not a well-considered act, but a desperate act that the person would not have committed in a different situation,” Konrad Michel, psychiatric specialist at the University Hospital of Bern, told NZZ.

A new initiative called “Lean on me” has been launched. Supported by doctors and other health professionals, the initiative’s aim is to raise awareness about depression and suicide, and to highlight the fact that some 70 percent of suicide cases involve depression.

“Lean on me” also hopes to change the perception held by many of depression as something that the individual sufferer can overcome by himself. A better understanding of the illness is of great importance, particularly since many depressives do not share their suicidal thoughts.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

2012-05-23 20:59:47 by evianers
I once asked a very good friend of ours, a Catholic priest, why it is that so many people in CH commit suicide. His answer was...."when you already have everything, can afford everything, have freedom and one of the highest standards of living in the world, what else is there to strive for, so many people become so dissatisfied that they take their lives". Sadly a Swiss friend committed suicide 3 months ago - he did not want to grow old, he wrote in the final note.
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