Last year, Church SOS had over 21,000 conversations with suicidal people.That represents a tenth of all calls to their emergency telephone line.
Every year, between 500-600 people take their own lives,and approximately ten times attempt to do so. In Norway,therefore, there are far more people who die by suicide than in accidents on the road and at sea in total.
Monday is the World Day of Suicide Prevention,and Secretary General in the Church SOS in Norway, Leif Jarle Theis, believes it is important to talk about this issue.
“In 2017, we had 21,782 conversations dealing with suicidal thoughts,” Theis said. “This means that our volunteers receive approximately 60 such calls every single day.’’
In total, Church SOS answers nearly 200,000 calls each year.In excess of 10% of the phone conversations are about suicidal thoughts. On the instant messaging service, the percentage is closer to 50%, and Theis believes these numbers are disturbing.
“At the same time, our service is proof that a good conversation can help save lives,” he emphasised, and at the same time said that the numbers include everything from interviews about sporadic thoughts to concrete plans to end a life here and now.
The Church SOS has approximately 1,000 volunteers who manage the 24-hour service on the phone and internet.The service is anonymous, therefore, the Church SOS does not know the number of lives they save with the service. However, volunteers and employees are constantly receiving feedback from people who say that the conversations they have had have been very important to them.
Monday will be marked throughout the country. In Oslo there will be 614 lights at Jernbanetorget, as many as the number of registered suicides in Norway in 2016. Åse Michaelsen of Fremskrittsparti (Frp) and the general secretary of the organisation, ‘Leve’, Oddrun Bøhlerengen, will attend the event.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today