Child helpline says more than half of its ‘suicidal callers’ do not receive proper treatment in Spain

A national helpline for children reports that only 44% of depressed callers aged 13 to 17 receive appropriate psychological care.

This is the conclusion of a report by Fundacion Anar on the mental health of children and adolescents in Spain over the last decade.

Official figures from the National Institute of Statistics indicate that there were 314 child suicides in 2020.

In 2021, the Anar helpline assisted 748 teenagers who, at the time of their call, were trying to end their lives.

Between 2012 and 2022, the cases treated for suicidal desires have multiplied by nearly 24 and suicide attempts by 26.

The helpline has analyzed the content of the 589,255 calls and associated chat messages involving suicidal behavior from children they have received since 2012.

They say mental health appointments for young people have increased by 128% since 2020, coinciding with the Covid pandemic and the public health system cannot cope.

Fundacion Anar manager Diana Diaz said: “Primary care referrals are saturated and children’s testimonies reveal that even in serious situations, appointments are only available within fifteen days and three months.”

Diaz says the lack of proper psychological treatment leads to overmedication.

“Parents and children themselves tell us that they take medication without any parallel psychotherapy, for lack of resources.”

“Consultations are replaced by pills and that’s serious,” warned Díaz,

She added that suicide is “just the tip of the iceberg”, but that “there is always something behind it and it has to be faced so that a young person has the tools to fight their feelings. “.

The Anar hotline, which has more than 200 psychologists highly specialized in suicide situations, is open 24 hours a day, but Diaz says their service does not replace therapy.

“Our role is to act in serious situations and alert 112 or the police to intervene quickly and help the child get a face-to-face appointment for help.”


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