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Cantabrian emergency services get training on suicide prevention

Cantabrian emergency services get training on suicide prevention

The regional authorities consider it important to remove the taboo around that subject

On 19 May, the Cantabrian Government organized a specialized course aimed at people working in the regional emergency services, which taught them techniques on preventing suicide attempts. The course itself was led by Sergio Tubio from the Madrid City Fire Department, together with representatives from the 112 Cantabria emergency line.

These kinds of measures were considered necessary, and the regional government has made steps towards including them as part of its Emergency Training and Civil Protection Plan. Last year, the 112 Emergency Attention Center registered 273 warnings for suicide attempts in this Spanish autonomous region. As for the country, as a whole, it was reported that 10 people per day die of suicide, twice as many as due to traffic accidents.

Suicide causes more deaths than traffic accidents in Spain

The Cantabrian Government would like to tackle that issue, the way it would other social problems, with the difference being that in this case prevention is even more essential, in fact, this is where most of the efforts and resources need to be concentrated if suicide rates are to be curbed.

For this reason, the regional Minister of the Presidency, Interior and Justice, Paula Fernández Viaña, advocated at the start of the course, for addressing suicide, usually considered a taboo subject, with a "preventive" perspective, and with follow-up and support from psychiatrists and psychologists. In her opinion, it was paramount to involve experts in the field, together with emergency services in interventions related to suicide attempts.

"Nobody can ignore that these are interventions with a special sensitivity and that specific training is essential to provide the necessary tools to emergency personnel to be able to deal with such situations with greater security," said the Minister of the Presidency, also highlighting the particular impact of the pandemic on mental health and, consequently, on suicide deaths.

Course attendees, such as local firefighters and other people working in intervention services acquired extensive training for risk assessment and quick decision making in stressful situations. Likewise, notions of dealing with people with suicidal ideation, negotiation, mediation and persuasion were given. Additionally, there was training on the risk factors, the different phases that the victim goes through, and the possible signs of progress in the negotiation or final outcome.

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