“For every suicide in women, there are about four in men”: Ministry of Health

According to data from Legal Medicine, in Colombia so far in 2022, 1,241 men and 323 women have committed suicide. Photo: File.

As part of the commemoration of the International Day for Suicide Preventionthe Ministry of Health warned that suicide cases have been increasing in the country, in 2021 a total of 2,962 suicides were registered in Colombia.

“For every suicide in women, around four occur in men,” said the Vice Minister of Public Health and Service Provision, Jaime Urrego, regarding the 2021 figures.

Suicide deaths represent a 7.8% more than those registered in 2020 (2,748) and 1.2% more than those of 2019 (2,927)according to data collected by the Ministry of Health.

In addition, in the country the adjusted mortality rate for suicide went from 5.1 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2005 to 5.29 in 2020.

The Vice Minister of Public Health and Provision of Services mentioned that suicidal behavior is a serious mental health outcome related to the weakening of social support networks, social and economic gaps, acculturation, school violence, family dysfunction, low self-esteem, depression and alcohol use.

Likewise, the territorial entities of Risaralda, Caldas, Quindío, Vaupés, Tolima, Putumayo, Amazonas, Nariño, Huila, Antioquia, Casanare, Meta, Guaviare, Boyacá, Caquetá Y North of Santander presented incidence rates higher than the national rate.

The risk factor present in most cases of suicide attempt is a history of psychiatric disorder (38.0%), which includes depressive disorder in a greater proportion (86% of the 11,309 cases with disorder.

“During the last decade, advances in mental health have been significant in the country, with the issuance of the mental health policy and the National Strategy for the prevention of suicidal behavior; however, transforming the collective suffering of individuals, families, and communities poses particular public policy challenges for our country,” the deputy minister assured.

For this reason, he stressed that it is the duty of both the State and the citizenry to position mental health as intrinsic to development and well-being, and as a fundamental part of the right to health, as well as to strengthen comprehensive and continuous care, which is focused on in people, families and communities with a community perspective and seek to reduce stigma, self-stigma and discrimination.

Likewise, he stated that the implementation of predictive models should be scaled up, of which there are already experiences in the country, which provide intelligent tools for better public policy decision-making generating social and health impact.

The official stressed that a differential approach should be taken, taking into account the conditions and positions of the different social actors, recognized as subjects of rights, immersed in particular cultural, economic, political, gender and ethnic dynamics.

“Dialogue from the family, the neighborhood, the school, among others, must be part of our conception of mental health care, which is directly linked to the prevention of suicide and its early detection,” said Vice Minister Urrego, who He also added “Mental health is a priority for this Government, not understood as a disease but with all that it implies: harmony, good living, guarantee of rights, coexistence and total peace.”

The most vulnerable population ranges between 20 and 24 years (250 cases) and 35 to 39 years (125 cases). Photo: Pixabay
The most vulnerable population ranges between 20 and 24 years (250 cases) and 35 to 39 years (125 cases). Photo: Pixabay

According to the Colombian Institute of Legal Medicine, between January and July 2022, 1,564 suicides in Colombiaequivalent to a 9.97% increase of cases compared to the same period in 2021 when 1,489 events were reported. Preventing the death intention manifested by one person may be in the hands of another or a group.

Of the total deaths, 1,241 correspond to men and 323 to women. Of that figure, the most vulnerable population ranges from 20 and 24 years old (250 cases) and 35 to 39 years old (125 cases) in the first half of this year, according to the entity’s statistical bulletin.

The two cities that registered the highest number of suicides in Colombia were Medellín and Cali, according to data from Legal Medicine. For example, in Cali, the rate of attempted suicide per 100,000 inhabitants is 63.4, more than five percentage points above that of the department (58) and well above the rate of the country (53).


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“For every suicide in women, there are about four in men”: Ministry of Health