Students account for over 8% of suicide attempts in Flanders in 2019
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Students account for over 8% of suicide attempts in Flanders in 2019

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One in 12 suicide attempts treated in Flemish hospitals last year was carried out by a student, according to new figures obtained by a Flemish MP.

Students accounted for 8.3% of all suicide attempts recorded by hospitals in 2019, a figure which, while in decline in comparison to previous years, sparked concerns over the wellbeing of students as a population group.

“These figures show that students remain a vulnerable group and that more attention must be paid to their mental wellbeing and to suicide prevention,” MP Jacques De Gucht said.

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De Gucht presented the figures to the Flemish parliament after obtaining them from the education and welfare ministers, Ben Weys and Wouter Beke.

The figures showed that the rate of recorded suicide attempts by students fell for the second year in a row last year, going from 9.1% in 2018 to just over 8%.

In the previous seven-year stretch, from 2010 to 2017, the number of students who attempted to took their own lives jumped from 6.5% to 11.6%, De Morgen reports.

This year, as many students saw their routines upended by lockdowns and mandates to self-isolate, De Gucht said that it remained to be seen what the impact of the crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic would be on suicide figures.

“We should not underestimate the impact of distance learning and the social isolation that comes with it,” he said, adding: “We must ensure that students receive the necessary guidance and support to get through this difficult period.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Anyone having suicidal thoughts can get help by contacting the Suicide Line on the number 1813 or by going to www.zelfmoord1813.be, or to the Suicide Prevention Center at 0800 32 123 or at www.preventionsuicide.be