"Call for life", the 024 suicide hotline

News - 10.5.2022

Mental health, added Darias, is a priority objective of the Government of Spain's public policies and, as such, forms part of the Public Agenda to make it visible, to put an end to the stigmas and taboos that exist around this reality and to break the silences that have weighed like a burden on it for years.

The 024 Line will be free, accessible, immediate, confidential and staffed by experts, to support both people who may be suicidal and their families and loved ones.

024 will also be connected to the emergency services of the different autonomous communities and cities to help those whose suffering is pushing them to the limit of their strength because, as Darias explained, "a person with suicidal behaviour does not want to die, but wants to stop suffering".

This was made clear at the event held today in the Royal Botanical Gardens, which was attended by Dolors López, author of the book "Te nombro"; Fátima Cabello, deputy director of the Health Knowledge Area of the Red Cross; Nel González, president of the Mental Health Spain Confederation; and the Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, among others.

Suicide is the leading cause of external death in our country and the leading cause of death in young people. According to INE data, in 2020 there were 3,491 deaths by suicide in Spain, which was 7.4% more than in 2019. The Minister for Health stressed that the 024 telephone number is a commitment of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and a demand from society, which has increased in recent years.

An Advisory Committee has been created for the development of the 024 Line, as well as for future suicide prevention actions, made up of experts from different areas, who will contribute their experience and knowledge, considering all possible perspectives and voices, said the minister.

Expert care

024.The suicide hotline will involve the participation of experts to intervene in complex high-risk situations.

In a first phase, the telephone will be managed by the Red Cross, while the Ministry for Health finishes with the final tender for the service. The 024 team will consist of a service manager, 11 supervisors and 26 operators, all of whom have experience and expertise in managing this type of intervention.

To ensure that all citizens can use 024 in conditions of equality and non-discrimination, the telephone is adapted and will include a video-interpretation service in sign language, as well as a telephone interpretation service that offers a solution to overcome language barriers by allowing communication in real time with people who speak another language.

Other initiatives

The launch of the 024 Line is in addition to other Ministry of Health initiatives in the field of Mental Health, including the Speciality of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Mental Health Action Plan, endowed with €100 million, which will be debated at the next plenary session of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS).

In the same vein, the Ministry for Health, together with the autonomous communities and cities, recently updated the National Health System's Mental Health Strategy, with the participation of scientific societies and patient and family associations, which also wished to participate in the presentation of 024 today.

Non official translation