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Government bids to stop suicides

New study launched to find out reasons why 10,400 kill themselves and why French toll is so high

AS FIGURES show that each day in France 21 men and eight women commit suicide, the government has launched a scientific study to find the reasons and ways to stop the deaths.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine said suicide was a “public health issue” with figures showing that 10,400 people killed themselves every year – three times the numbers killed on the roads – and nearly 200,000 tried to kill themselves.

Ms Touraine used today’s World Suicide Prevention Day to launch the new study and an Observatoire National du Suicide to “pull together existing information, identify problems and create alerts” as the suicide rate is double that of the UK and triple that of Spain and Italy.

The first target will be to find why over-65s make up 30% of suicides, with Old People’s Minister Michèle Delaunay saying there were also four times as many suicides in over-85s as in the rest of the population.

However, suicide is also the major cause of death in 25-34 age group and the second leading cause of death for the 15-24s and Ms Touraine said solutions were “urgently needed”.

Health statistics body Institut de veille sanitaire said that the highest suicide toll was in Brittany, with 28.1 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, and in Basse-Normandie where the rate was 25.6.

Health professionals also pointed to work-related issues and it has been revealed that just over one in four working people had thought of committing suicide.

Professor Michel Debout of Saint-Etienne University Hospital, said there was still a “lack of information on the links between unemployment, losing a job and suicide”.

In 2009 several France Télécom employees committed suicide after complaining about pressures at work and similar problems have hit SNCF and the Office National des Forêts.

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