A recent press release by Stop Suicide, an organisation for the prevention of youth suicide, highlights the vulnerability of young people in Switzerland. In 2015, 2.5 times as many people aged under 30 died from suicide as from car accidents.
In addition, it is the first time since 2011 that the rate has risen. In 2015, 141 people under 30 took their own lives, close to three a week, and close to one in six of all deaths among this age group.
Boys and young men were the most affected, making up three quarters of total suicide deaths. However, this figure is deceptive. While boys and young men were more likely to die from suicide, girls and young women were two to three times more likely to try.
Suicide is a tragic waste, both avoidable and preventable. According to the World Health Organisation stigma and taboo surrounding mental disorders and suicide mean many people thinking of taking their own life are not seeking help. Raising community awareness and breaking down this taboo are important for making progress in preventing it. People need to feel comfortable discussing how they feel. A caring conversation with someone who understands is the first step.
There are plenty of people out there who care. Every year Nyon-based forester Scott Poynton walks up the peak La Dôle five times to raise money for the Movember foundation, a charity that supports work to prevent men’s cancer and suicide.
Geneva-based Stop Suicide has a highly engaged team focused on preventing youth suicide. The video below (in French) provides an introduction.