No increase in suicide rate despite lockdown mental health fears

Photo: Niels Pluto
Photo: Niels Pluto

There was no real increase in the number of suicides in the Netherlands last year, despite fears about the impact of coronavirus on mental health, preliminary figures from national statistics agency CBS published on Wednesday show.

In total, 1,229 men and 596 women ended their lives last year, or an average of five people per day. Translated into suicides per 100,000 members of the population, the figures have been stable for three years, the CBS said.

Psychologists had warned early on in the pandemic that the lockdown and social isolation would put more people’s mental health at risk, particularly that of youngsters.

However, the government’s SCP think-tank said in September that despite the impact of coronavirus people are generally no less happy with their lives than before the pandemic hit.

Respondents to the SCP’s annual survey of the nation’s well-being, gave their lives a score of 7.3 out of 10, unchanged from 2019 and only marginally down on 2018, the agency said.


The new CBS figures show there were also fewer suicides among teenagers – down from 67 in 2019 to 62 last year. At the same time, the number of people in their 70s ending their own lives rose from 285 to 331.

At the beginning of the 1980s, 14.7 people per 100,000 took their own lives, compared with 10.5 per 100,000 now.

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