THE 024 national helpline to prevent suicides in Spain has saved 585 lives through direct interventions since opening in early May.

Emergency teams went to see those very-high risk callers who contacted the 24-hour phone service.

The Ministry of Health initiative has so far taken 34,000 calls from people with suicidal thoughts or behaviour, as well as from friends, relatives, and neighbours wanting information or help.

The service launched on May 10 with the slogan, ‘Call to Life’.

After a massive volume of calls in the line’s early days, numbers now average around 300 per day.

A Health Ministry spokesperson said: “The volume of calls shows the need for such a service to deal with a silent and latent threat such as mental health problems and suicidal behaviour.”

024 is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.

It is free, accessible, immediate, and confidential with trained experts able to deal with high-risk situations, including access to emergency teams that rush to callers.

Suicide has been the main cause of unnatural death for 15 years after surpassing traffic accident deaths, which for decades was the main reason for deaths from external causes, as opposed to diseases.

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