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Pablo del Pozo Herce, resident mental health nurse: "Suicide must be clearly discussed, but not only with the patient, also with the family".

The School of Nursing of the University of Navarra organises a session on mental health: according to the INE, there are 11 suicides in the world every day, 1 every 2 hours.

21 | 01 | 2022

"Suicide must be talked about clearly, but not only with the patient, but also with the family", said Pablo del Pozo Herce, resident mental health nurse at the Fundación Jiménez Díaz University Hospital, at the University of Navarra. The expert intervened in the session "Nursing in the face of suicide", organised by the School of Nursing of the University of Navarra. In the webinar, whose goal was to talk about mental health and suicide from psychology and nursing, also intervened Cristina Vidal, clinical psychologist of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra.

"There is a lot of stigma attached to mental illness. Although trends are changing, it is still difficult to externalise or recognise something that is not visible", said Cristina Vidal. Verbalisations about not wanting to live, hopelessness, isolation or a decrease in appetite and sleep are some of the warning signs of a person with suicidal thoughts. "It is very important to talk, to understand the patient, to stand by their side and validate their feelings," she explained.

Nowadays, mental health has become a major problem for society. It affects all age groups, especially the young and the elderly. "These are stages of change that entail great psychological change. Adolescents, because of the transitional stage they are going through, and the elderly, because of the feeling of loneliness and dependence", said Pablo del Pozo. Moreover, "in adolescents, suicide is one of the main causes of unnatural death", added Cristina Vidal. 

"Addressing the topic of suicide requires an intervention multidisciplinary", said the psychologist. In this way she wanted to reflect the importance of partnership between psychologists, psychiatrists and nurses to offer the patient better care. However, on the daily internship , health professionals find themselves with a lack of time to dedicate to the patient, which results in a poorer quality of care. "If there are not enough professionals, intensive follow-up is not possible," explained Pablo del Pozo.

During the session it was also possible to talk about the need to implement the figure of the school nurse in all autonomous communities, the importance of social services in the prevention of suicide or the supportive role of a patient's family.

Suicide figures and their aggravating factors

"In 2020 there have been almost 4,000 suicides, according to high school National Statistics. Worldwide 800,000 a year. That is 11 suicides a day, and one every two hours. The figures are alarming", explained Pablo del Pozo. The increase in these figures could also be affected by the rise in chronic diseases. "We are living longer and longer. Many diseases are no longer fatal, but they have an impact on quality of life. This can be a factor that leads a patient to think 'to live like this, it's better not to live at all'," said Cristina Vidal. 

"We have also seen an increase in the number of suicides among healthcare workers fees . This is due to the pressure on the collective and the great psychological impact it entails", added Pablo del Pozo. These figures reflect the social importance of talking about suicide. For this reason, last December, the government launched a new suicide prevention telephone number issue , 024. There is no need to register or give any details staff, guaranteeing the confidentiality of the call. 

Podcast of the full session