The Metropolitan Regional Government of Santiago de Chile has launched a suicide prevention program called “Quédate” in response to the mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic. With an investment of US$2 million and a direct impact on one million people, it is the largest suicide prevention project in Latin America, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Chile is the sixth country in Latin America and the Caribbean with the highest suicide rate, with nine per 100,000 inhabitants, and the most affected profiles are the elderly, people from the LGBTI community, and schoolchildren.
The “Quédate” program will attend to people in crisis through a chat with health professionals; it will develop and implement a plan in each of the 52 municipalities of the Metropolitan Region (MR), which will include support for families after a suicide; it will create two suicide attempt surveillance centers; and it will standardize the data related to the subject. The chat, available at www.quedate.cl from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., will assist people who are suffering a crisis as well as family members and people who have lost someone. The initiative complies with WHO guidelines for countries to address the issue by 2021.
The program will be implemented in the 52 municipalities of the Metropolitan Region over the next two years. The municipalities have committed to devising prevention plans in their territories, facilitating school and health infrastructure, and making part of their teams available for training in this area. In addition, the program seeks to generate an open dialogue on other issues that also generate pain, such as bullying, respect for sexual diversity, and the loneliness of the elderly.