Clinics see a need for action – Significantly more suicidal adolescents are cared for – News


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Clinics in Bern and Zurich are reporting a sharp increase in suicide attempts and see an urgent need for action.

The number of young people who were cared for in Switzerland last year because of a suicide attempt has increased significantly. The University Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Bern looked after over 50 percent more suicidal minors in the emergency department in 2021 than in the previous year. This is reported by the “Sonntagszeitung”.

The Psychiatric University Clinic in Zurich also speaks of an emergency that is still ongoing. Child and adolescent psychiatry recorded over 270 reported suicide attempts last year.

“Some days in autumn/winter, several patients came to us who had tried to take their own lives or were about to do so,” said Michael Kaess, director of the University Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the University Psychiatric Services in Bern. Most recently, there were almost three times more young people than the emergency room had places. You are “totally overloaded”.

We have an emergency and only have to put out the fire.

In Zurich, child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy at the Psychiatric University Clinic (PUK) recorded 278 suicide attempts. “We have an emergency and are only extinguishing the fire, it can’t go on like this,” said senior doctor Gregor Berger. He calls for a national register. “This is the only way we can understand what is causing more and more young people to fall into mental crises.”

Pandemic not the only cause

According to Berger, it is not enough to attribute the increase in suicide attempts solely to the pandemic. Mental health problems among minors have been on the rise for the last ten years. Berger also attributes this to the general pressure to perform. Now quick action is required, for example by making the topic part of school material.

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