“In 2021, suicide attempts by children and adolescents increased nearly 150% compared to 2020. This troubling record is a testament to how dire the state of mental health care in our country is.”
That is the conclusion of GrowSpace Poland, an action group dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBTQIA+ youth. They requested data from Polish police stations to map suicide rates among young people (children and teens under 18) in Poland. The data showed that there were about 2,000 suicide attempts in 2021, 150 of which ended in death. GrowSpace emphasizes that the causes of suicide are complex and diverse. Yet we should not hide the fact that two-thirds of suicide attempts are carried out by LGBTQIA+ youth, most of whom are trans.
The action group held a candlelight wake in front of the Ministry of Health to address teen suicide. In addition, GrowSpance collected signatures for a petition urging the government to come up with quick and concrete plans for suicide prevention. After all, currently 70 percent of LGBT+ teens suffer from suicidal thoughts. Schools must have a plan to deal with this.
70 percent of LGBT+ teens suffer from suicidal thoughts.
More than 10 thousand people signed the petition and 40 organizations united in a coalition to promote suicide prevention. The research and wake have been covered in at least 80 media publications. The signatories demand specialized training for teachers and parents, as well as extra attention to bullying among students.
Initially, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education did not want to respond to the action group, but after the media coverage, they stated that they believe current suicide prevention programs are already effective. The coalition did not leave it at that and announced further research into the success of the current policy.
Het Actiefonds supported the group by purchasing candles, posters and other materials for the memorial ceremony. No suicide prevention program can be effective when suicide attempt rates skyrocket!