The 024, the new telephone that the Spanish Ministry of Health has launched to serve people with suicidal ideation or close to them, has registered around a thousand calls on its first day of operation, last Tuesday, May 10. The calls lasted approximately half an hour and some had to be referred to the 112 emergency telephone number. Line 024 is free and anonymous, and is not recorded on the telephone bill.
“The goal is to help prevent suicidal behavior, which is a long-silent threat that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. After the urgent, always the important”, declared the Spanish Minister of Health, Carolina Darias. “The importance of this resource has been seen and must continue to be supported. The 024 has come to stay, to help, to support those people who have suicidal ideation, to make a call to life and avoid so many deaths that could have been prevented.
In the year 2020 around 4000 people committed suicide in Spain. Faced with this public health problem, the Government approved the Mental Health Strategy (2022-2024) in December 2021, with a budget of 100 million euros and consisting of 44 proposed actions, including the implementation of this new phone.
As the minister explained after the meeting, these actions are divided into six strategic lines: strengthening human resources in mental health, optimizing resources, raising awareness and combating stigmatization, early detection and attention to suicidal behavior.
The phone includes an approach to mental health in contexts of vulnerability and the prevention of addictive behaviors, with or without substances.
The tragedy of suicide, the seriousness of which requires urgent action, is a growing reality in our society, which is why we consider the launch of this suicide prevention telephone line to be very positive and we hope that the rest of the measures do not take too long.
We are particularly interested in the strategic line aimed at increasing human resources in Mental Health, something that is certainly very necessary and which we hope can be successfully implemented.