WITH rates of suicide creeping up alarmingly among teens in Spain, school teachers are being trained in techniques to support at-risk youth. 

The move has been driven by the shocking statistic that 2022 saw 84 young adults take their own life, according to the INE – the highest rate since records began.

The soaring rate at which young people have reported an increase in feelings of loneliness, situations of violence or abuse, and depression are thought to be contributing factors.

Psychologists with the Educational Inspectorate are delivering the training that it is hoped will reverse this worrying trend.

All of the autonomous communities in Spain currently have suicide prevention plans in public and private school environments as required by the law. 

These plans involve telling students about risk factors and warning signs, and employing specific measures for those who have exhibited suicidal tendencies.

However, psychologists are adamant that in order to make an impact within schools, the education system needs to incorporate professionals trained in prevention strategies within schools. 

Leading psychology authorities, including the General Council of Psychology of Spain and The Official College of Psychology of Madrid, have been fighting to create the role of an educational psychologist in all of the autonomous communities.

Currently, it has only been implemented in eight of the 17. 

Another plan being proposed is the creation of a ‘student helper’ role across the community. Students chosen for this role are given the responsibility of watching out for warning signs amongst their peers as as-risk adolescents usually seek support from a trusted peer prior to an authority figure.  

The suicide rate among teens has continued to rise despite the passage of the Law for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents approved in 2021.

The law was designed to better protect young people from serious crimes against children.

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