Spain's Minister for Health, Carolina Darias, presented the 024 suicide hotline, with the slogan 'Call for Life.'
The service will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from Tuesday 10 May. And, according to a government statement, the operators will also answer calls in languages other than Spanish.
The 024 line will be free of charge, immediate, confidential and staffed by experts. The aim is to support both people who may be suicidal and their families and loved ones. To overcome language barriers, it will include a telephone interpretation service, allowing real-time communication with people who speak another language.
Similarly, the hotline is adapted and will include a video-interpretation service in sign language.
"The 024 team will be made up of a service manager, 11 supervisors and 26 operators, all of whom have experience and knowledge in managing this type of intervention," the government says.
In its initial phase, the line will be managed by the Red Cross, while the Ministry of Health concludes the final tender for the service. It will also be linked to the emergency services of the different regions and cities.
High youth suicide rate
Mental health, explained Minister Darias, is a priority for the Government and, as such, authorities intend "to put an end to the stigmas and taboos that exist" around it.
Suicide is the first external cause of death in Spain and the main cause of death among young people. According to data from the Spanish statistical agency (INE), in 2020 there were 3,491 deaths by suicide in Spain, which was 7.4% more than in 2019.
The Minister for Health stressed that the 024 telephone number is a commitment of the government and a growing demand of society.
An Advisory Committee has been created for the development of the 024 Line, as well as for future suicide prevention actions, made up of experts from different areas, who will contribute their experience and knowledge, considering all possible perspectives and voices, said the minister.