Threefold increase to Balearics helpline.

Over a thousand calls about factors associated with suicide.

29-03-2021Gerd Altmann

Teléfono de Esperanza in the Balearics attended to 2,965 calls in 2020, almost three times as many as in 2019.

The "hope telephone" service provided 670 hours of attention, an increase of 72% in a year marked by the pandemic and by calls that were predominantly to do with psychological or psychiatric issues. There were 75 calls with a suicidal theme, an increase of 88%.

On average, there were eight calls a day. The average duration of calls was thirteen minutes. Sixty per cent were from women. In previous years the female-male percentage was roughly even. Three-quarters of calls had to do with psychological and psychiatric problems. Of the remainder, 21% were about relationships and family; health problems accounted for two per cent and legal problems one per cent.

Although there was an increase in the number of calls with a suicidal theme, the charity says that this doesn't necessarily imply that there was rise in suicides. "What is very important to us is that people ask for help because they are looking to take steps in dealing with their problems."

It is pointed out that 1,319 calls were about factors associated with the risk of suicide, e.g. depression. These were up 71%. This figure indicates "the importance of intervening before the problem worsens and shows that prevention is essential". The average length of call in these cases was 28 minutes.

In terms of age group, 27.02% of calls were from people aged 56 to 65. These were followed by 26.3% in the 46 to 55 group. Young people aged between 19 and 25 accounted for 4.2%, 18 and under for 1.5%, and 76 and over for 2.4%.

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