OIJ reports increase in number of suicides in Costa Rica

The concern of authorities is that the victims are getting younger and younger


The Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) reports an increase in cases of suicide in Costa Rica. The concern of authorities is that “the victims are getting younger and younger”.

In 2017, the OIJ handled 327 cases of suicide.

The statistics of the Judicial Police indicate that during the first semester of 2017 there were 188 cases, whereas in the same period for this year there were 201.

“It has increased. Most cases are of Costa Ricans and we have a tough job because it increases and increases,” said Sisy Castillo, Chief of the Section of Psychiatry and Forensic Psychology of the OIJ.


“This is not just about the health system. It is a social problem that includes many sectors such as education, economy, public services. There are conflicts that are accumulating and there comes a time when people lose hope,” added the psychologist.

The expert recommends that families be alert to sudden changes in people and analyze several points such as:

  • Monitor behavioral changes of young people and adolescents.
  • Do not overlook gestures related to suicides.
  • Analyze phrases related to loss of interest and mood changes.
  • Attention to the use of drugs or alcohol.
  • If family members have depressive behaviors avoid having guns in the house.

This month the Colegio Profesional de Psicólogos de Costa Rica (CPPCR) – College of Psychologists of Costa Rica – called on health authorities so that the prevention of suicide is addressed as a public priority.

The Colegio raised its voice to the high rate of suicides reported in Costa Rica: almost a suicide a day.

“The data from scientific research on the subject indicates that suicidal behavior does not lie the desire to die, but a deep suffering associated with despair and helplessness. It occurs when the stressors in the subject’s life exceed their ability to cope with them,” explained Waynner Guillén, President of the CPPCR.

In 2017, the OIJ handled 327 cases of suicide.