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Suicide attempts increased for the third consecutive year in Huila • La Nación

In Huila, suicide attempts continued to grow during 2022 and exceeded the total for the previous two years, as revealed by the National Institute of Health (INS). Meanwhile, it is worrying that the number of people who ended their lives was slightly lower compared to 2021 and is the second highest number on record in the last 8 years.


During the year 2022, the wave of suicide attempts in Huila continued to grow and, in addition, the number of events surprised and exceeded what was expected by the experts.

As revealed by the National Institute of Health (INS), the department totaled 891 suicide attempts between January 1 and December 31, 2022 -preliminary figures-, which is 51 additional events than projected (840): on average, during the past year there were 2.4 attempts to end life in this region every day.

According to the INS, the department exceeded the figures of the two previous years. The entity’s reports indicate that during 2021, 786 events occurred and in 2020 the figure was lower, totaling 750.

In this way, data like last year had not been seen since 2019 when 952 events were registered; It is worth noting that in 2018 the report was higher, reaching 969 cases, which have been one of the highest figures since this problem was monitored.

The INS details that during the past year by departments, Vichada was the one with the lowest reported cases with 20, on the contrary, Antioquia with 5,444 was in first place with the highest number of events.

In addition, it is noteworthy that 27,975 suicide attempts were expected in the country, but in reality 36,577 occurred, thus exceeding not only what was projected but also the consolidated figure for the immediately previous year when 29,792 occurred.

And it is that, regarding the complex problem, the INS emphasizes that the repetitions of attempted suicide tend to increase since 2019. In addition, by 2021 it had warned that the notification of this phenomenon in that year resumed levels similar to those observed in 2018 and 2019, “pre-pandemic years and with the highest notification in the history of surveillance of the event.”

But there are cases that are never reported. The Huila Health Secretariat clarifies that in the region about 40% of the total reported events “report having at least one previous suicide attempt, at the time of presenting the event that gave rise to the notification.”

where else do they try

It has been possible to specify that the municipalities of Aipe, Colombia, Garzón, Hobo, La Plata, Pitalito, Rivera, Santa María, Tello and Teruel are classified with a High Risk Level, in terms of involvement by attempted suicide in regards to to our department, according to a report from the Huila Health Secretariat.

The monthly epidemiological bulletin for the period 12 -January 1 to December 3, 2022- states that “in the department of Huila, for the XII Epidemiological Period, the notification of the suicide attempt event is in the outbreak zone.” And he clarified that this information was socialized with the Mental Health program, “in order to carry out the pertinent actions, which allow strengthening the knowledge and approach of the events.”

According to the behavior of the event by incidence rate, it can be seen that the municipality of Rivera registers the highest incidence in the department and that in total the 37 municipalities report at least one event associated with the aforementioned problem.

In fact, INS for its part highlights the highest rates of incidence in the country according to the number of inhabitants by municipalities. And in this way it was found that: two from Huila register the first and second highest incidence in Colombia in terms of those with 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants and they are Acevedo with an incidence rate of 400.6 and Garzón with 258.8 .

And with regard to municipalities with less than 20,000 inhabitants, Tello stands out in ninth place with 225.2.

By sex, the trend also continues that those who most try to end their lives are females (60%), but those who commit suicide the most are males, in total: 76 of the 92 suicides in 2022 in Huila.

Young people between 18 and 28 years of age are the most affected. “A suicide attempt is the behavior closest to suicide,” underlines the INS.

At the country level and in Huila, the most used mechanism is poisoning. While the main triggering factor is family problems, conflicts with a partner/ex-partner, and economic problems.

Almost a hundred suicides

Preliminary figures from Legal Medicine show that during 2022 in Huila the number of people who ended their lives was almost the same as that presented in 2021, which has been the highest since this event was monitored.

While in 2021, 98 people decided to end their lives, in 2022 92 did, of whom 76 were men and 16 women. 4 were adolescents between 10 and 14 years of age and 8 more between 15 and 17 years, the rest was of legal age.

By age group, between 25 to 29 years of age, it is the one with the highest number of suicides with 16 young people. Additionally, Legal Medicine detailed that the majority (37) of the people had a school level up to basic primary education; they were single (43) or in a free union (18); and they were mestizos (82).

The most used mechanisms were suffocation generators through which 65 people committed suicide, firearm projectile with 10 victims, and toxic with 15. The most common scenario was the home (74); and for days, on Sunday.

Reasons include things like:

– Substance and alcohol abuse (6 deaths).

– Conflict with partner or ex-partner (9).

– Heartbreak (6).

– Economic (4).

-Physical illness (6).

– Mental illness (12).

Finally, it is worth remembering that considering that the suicide attempt and its fatal outcome are preventable in Colombia, it has been monitored as an Event of Public Health Interest (EISP) through the National Public Health Surveillance System – Sivigila since 2016.


Suicides in Huila

Legal Medicine figures for the last 8 years show that in Huila the number of people who have ended their lives has been increasing as follows:

Year total cases Rate x 100,000 Inhab.
2015 72 6.92
2016 79 7.49
2017 77 7.21
2018 75 6.93
2019 78 7.74
2020 83 8.15
2021 98 9.52
2022 P* 92

P*: Preliminary information

Source: Legal Medicine. Consulted 01/21/2023

Elaboration: THE NATION.

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