16 | JUL | 2019
Adult males at highest risk of suicide in Mexico City subway
From 2009 to 2018, a total of 306 deaths were reported at different stations in Mexico City’s subway system - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Adult males at highest risk of suicide in Mexico City subway

13/06/2019
18:16
Montserrat Peralta y Edgar Tequianes
Mexico City
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Each year, an average of 16 users have committed suicide in Mexico City's subway facilities

From 2009 to 2018, a total of 306 deaths were reported at different stations in Mexico City’s subway system. The causes of death range from cardiac arrests and accidents to homicides.

However, according to Mexico City’s Collective Transport System (STC) and the National Institute of Forensic Science (INCIFO), in more than half the cases reported (160), the victims committed suicide.

Each year, an average of 16 users have committed suicide in subway facilities. 2017 showed record numbers, with a total of 32 cases.

Subway trains are a fail-safe and immediate suicide method, according to doctor Ángela Martínez González, member of the Global Suicidologists Network in Mexico.

The profile of suicidal people is more than clear in official records: 80% are male and fall within an age range of 35 to 44. Most of them throw themselves under subway trains in the latter part of the year, mainly between September and October, according to data provided by the INCIFO.

Martínez González assured that these traits may help experts formulate hypotheses on the causes that led them to take their own lives, which are usually unemployment, social pressure to fulfill the role of provider, or overwhelming debt.

Moreover, the choice of location is another important factor. It is very different to commit suicide at home, where there’s privacy and the family can even hide or alter the fact, than in a public place, where the death usually affects more than one person, since witnesses are likely to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In spite of this, most subway train operators are unprepared for this type of situation. EL UNIVERSAL requested an interview with STC authorities to inquire on the type of training given to drivers and the exact protocol to be followed in these cases. However, the STC did not respond.

62% of all 306 deaths occurred between 2009 and 2018 happened in only three of all 12 subway lines. Line 2, which goes from Taxqueña to Cuatro Caminos station showed the highest number, with a total of 90 deaths.

In 2016, Mexico City’s Citizen Council for Security and Justice and the STC signed an agreement to work on a program called “Salvando vidas” (Saving Lives) and prevent suicides in the subway system. The project seeks to raise awareness on the factors that lead people to take their own lives, which could help in the early detection of suicidal tendencies.
 

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