Maria is learning to value herself and has come to believe that she has a big heart. Now he is able to talk about how bad he has been, a sign that the wounds are healing. Listening to her tell her story on the other end of the phone, it is clear that she is on the way out of the tunnel she was in until just three months ago. A tunnel in which the pandemic plunged her even further, taking her to the limit of wanting to commit suicide .
“I tried. I was tired of suffering. But my best friend caught me and called 112. She herself had asked me to contact the Red Cross and she had done so, but after talking to them the first time, she was still determined to disappear. From the second time I started to change my mind, “says this woman. The telephone line to which he refers is the ‘ Red Cross Hears You ‘ service. The NGO launched it in April 2020 to offer free psychosocial care, especially to the most vulnerable, given the effects of the coronavirus on the mental health of the population.
Since those first calls to María, she is attended once a week by a therapist specialized in depressed children and young people with self-destructive ideation. “It has helped me more than other types of psychologists or psychiatrists with more general views. It is focused on problems like mine and is the only one that has made me feel that everything is worth it, ” he says.
She had been carrying a heavy emotional burden that the outbreak of the health emergency only worsened. Very close to the people around her, seeing herself at home locked up, unable to have physical contact with family or friends, shocked her. Also living with a person who “had not quite assimilated the situation”: “I was looking for any excuse to go out and I argued many times with her because she was playing with my health”.
Her kidney problems made this woman a risk patient. Not surprisingly, when home confinement was decreed, he was receiving dialysis, a treatment that he could not stop and that also affected his mood. “Three days a week I had to go by obligation to a site where there was Covid . Hospitals were a focus of the virus and I cried because I did not want to go. There were colleagues who had been infected and were dying. Psychologically it affected me a lot” , remember.
In this process, Maria found no support from her mother or her sisters. From them she has only received reproaches that made her feel guilty : “‘You are not the only one who has a bad time and you are hurting others. Don’t you think that you have already made us suffer too many times?’ They even told me. They demand that I put myself in their place but they don’t put themselves in mine. “
Thus, with a backpack that she had been carrying little by little, this woman called 900 107 917 with shattered self-esteem. On the other side, she found an environment in which she does not feel judged and in which they have made her see that sometimes it is necessary to break family ties in order to continue: “If your family crushes you instead of helping you, you will not leave the Well. With everything that has happened to me, what I have seen is that I have friends who want me to be well. At home, however, no one has been able to ask me what led me to try to kill myself or how the therapy is going. “.
Closeness, understanding, motivating messages, guidelines and tools to work with positive thoughts … are marking those consultations with which Maria feels “very comfortable.” The process is not easy, and the sessions are long, but at the same time “very productive”. Thanks to his psychologist, he has gone from seeing everything black to seeing a gray scale in which a color palette has already begun to be drawn. “Use a lot of metaphors to make yourself realize how things really are ,” she says.
“That call saved my life,” she continues and before hanging up she points out that she would like to leave a message in case someone who is going through the same thing that she went through reads these lines: “They have to know that if they do not receive support from the family, they will not they are alone. There are always people willing to help you get out of the hole. And you can get out of everything even if we are very down. You can keep going. “
A national prevention plan is urgently needed
From the Observatory of Suicide in Spain, dependent on the Spanish Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide, they expected a significant drop in these deaths in 2020. The entity believed that the confinement would make these behaviors “enormously” difficult, both on public roads – It is forbidden to wander around it – as well as in homes – as there are many people in the company. But reality reflected that the pandemic wreaked havoc on mental health .
People stroll down Major Street in Lleida.
“It seems that after the confinement there was a ‘rebound effect’. While in April there were 18.2% fewer suicides compared to the same month of 2019, in August there was an increase of 34%”, point out the same sources, who They warn that attempts and ideation must be added to the fait accompli. According to WHO calculations, there would be about 20 attempts for each suicide , while, according to other studies, ideation could affect between 5 and 10% of the Spanish population throughout life .
Closed 2020, the data for 2021 is also worrying. In September, ‘Red Cross Listen to You’ warned of an increase in calls about this problem, which “should always be taken seriously.”
“Among the myths that surround this issue are the ideas that whoever expresses the desire to end their life does not do so, that talking about suicide encourages them to carry it out, that only people with serious problems commit suicide or do it the cowards or the very brave, “says the NGO, adding that nine out of ten people who have committed suicide had verbalized their purpose. “Talking about it reduces risk , since, among other things, the person wants changes to take place in their life to enjoy it again. Many small problems can be intolerable”,
“We are well below the European average for psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and mental health nurses”
Spain does not have any state plan or strategy for suicide prevention and this is one of the claims that experts have been highlighting for years. A plan that has specific financing and investment in human resources.
“We are well below the European average in psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and mental health nurses, so an investment in human resources is urgently needed within the care given to these pathologies in the National Health System”, claimed the doctor Celso Arango, president of the Spanish Society of Psychiatry, during the conference ‘Depression and suicide in Spain’. Organized by Fundamed, the participants also agreed to highlight the need for an early diagnosis of mental illnesses as a basic tool to prevent their increase and worsening.