In this blog I have written before about the economic situation in Andalusia, its impact on employment as well as its relationship with drop outs from schools. Another aspect of course what the huge unemployment under the youngsters does with their view on the future and consequently with their mental health. Spain’s National Institute of Statistics showed in its the most recent data from 2012(!), there were 3.539 suicides (2.724 men and 815 women), up 11,3% from the year before. The figures were the highest since 2005. According to broadcaster RTVE, suicide is the leading cause of death in young men (17.8%). I wouldn’t be surprised if the figures in Andalusia look even worse, because of the higher than average unemployment here, although the people over here do have a quite optimistic character.
The figures were quite shocking, but still are cool, distant numbers. Until last Thursday when we noticed too many police cars and an ambulance where coming over our little dirt road. Soon afterwards we found out that earlier that day the son of our neighbours had committed suicide. Just 24 years and no future in sight life had become too much of a burden to him. Dropped out from school, no job, no view on a better future. We knew that he occasionally had to try to temporally escape from this grey existence by using drugs, but this came out the blue.
That afternoon we visited the house of his parents, our neighbours, where he was living and found a family devastated, in grieve and disbelieve. Unfortunately we have been in situations before where we visited a mourning group of people but never in one like this. The shock still present, the mix with sadness, anger, despair and feelings of guilt was almost surreal. Guilt feelings by the family agonised over whether they could have done something that might have made him want to stay with them.
In these situations I am never at my best and don’t know to say meaningful things, but if ones knowledge of a language is so limited (like my Spanish,) just being there is all I could offer. I am sure they will forgive me. Thank God at least Miranda could express our condolences in her warm way.
Later, standing outside with a large group of people, as we do here when a person dies, sorrow is tucked away by chatting about the most irrelevant things in the world. As if nothing had happened.