Death by suicide rises in Flanders, particularly among women

The number of women dying by suicide rose by 17.8 per cent in 2022 compared to 2020, Flanders’ Public Health ministry reported on Friday. The figures show that suicide remains a major social challenge, Health minister Hilde Crevits said.

A total of 1,024 people died by suicide in Flanders in 2022, an increase of 3.7 per cent in two years. There were increases in all age groups, with the exception of men under 44 and over 75, and women aged 30-44, where the numbers decreased.

The total number of deaths by suicide fell by 34 per cent between 2000 and 2021 but rose again in 2022.

On the increase among young women, one hypothesis is that they may have suffered more from the pandemic than other groups. Increased exposure to suicidal behaviour online may also have an effect.

"Everyone can do their part by being mindful of their own well-being and that of those around us"

“While caution is needed and trends can only be established over the longer term, these figures are a cause for increased vigilance and concern,” Professor Gwendolyn Portzky of the Flemish Centre of Expertise in Suicide Prevention, said.

“Everyone can do their part by being mindful of their own well-being and that of those around us, by noticing signs when things are not going well and starting a conversation about it. There are a lot of possibilities for help.”

The regional government is working with a number of organisations to tackle the issue, including through greater support to vulnerable groups. Suicided remains one of the main causes of death in Flanders, among men and women in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The government's Suicide Prevention Action Plan aims for a 10 per cent decrease in the number of deaths by suicide in 2030 compared to 2020.

“These new figures show that we must continue to work on prevention of suicide,” Crevits said. “The Covid pandemic has also had a clear impact on the mental and physical well-being of our young people and most among girls in 2022.”

Anyone with questions or concerns about suicide can call the free, anonymous 1813 helpline or visit for support.



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Suicide attempts in Flanders fall by a quarter since 2000
The number of suicide attempts in Flanders has fallen by a quarter since 2000, Hilde Crevits, Flemish minister of Welfare and Public Health...

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