Fewer suicides in first two months of lockdown, police figures show

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There has been a sharp drop in the number of suicides and attempted suicides over the past two months, but police have been called out to deal with more ‘disturbed’ individuals, according to data collected by the 25 regional safety teams and quoted by broadcaster NOS.

The number of suicides since social distancing measures were introduced are down between 15% and 20%, the police figures show, even though experts had expected an increase.

Bauke Koekoek, a lecturer in crisis nursing at the police academy, told broadcaster NOS that it is difficult to explain why there have been fewer suicides since the lockdown was introduced.

‘More people feel uprooted and perhaps this has led to others feeling less different than they did,’ Koekoek said. ‘But it could also be that people are waiting to see what happens.’

In previous economic crisis there has been an increase in the number of suicides, NOS said. However, the ‘we are all in this together’ feeling the current crisis has generated, and more government support, may have offset this, Koekoek said.

The suicide prevention hotline Stichting 113 Zelfmoordpreventie told NOS that its volunteers have not noticed an increase in suicides or in calls for help either.

‘But risk factors such as unemployment are increasing, so we must all remain alert,’ a spokeswoman said.

In 2018, 1,829 people committed suicide in the Netherlands.

If you, or someone you know, needs help, you can contact 0900 0113 (available 24/7) or to go website 113.nl.

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