Anti-suicide campaign is welcomed by locals

by Gazette Reporter

TWO local Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown representatives have welcomed the news of a forthcoming nationwide campaign against suicide, while expressing their concerns that the high rate of suicide in Ireland may be attributable to the effects of the recession.
The announcement of the Government’s National Suicide Prevention campaign followed the publication of a cross-Border report that revealed that the suicide rate in Ireland is one of the highest in Europe.
Last week, Deputy Richard Boyd Barret (PBP) said: “The countries with the highest suicide rate increases were those most affected by the recession, namely, Greece and Ireland.
“Is it the case that the policies of cuts and austerity are leading directly to the sense of despair and hopelessness felt among young people which is leading to this increase in suicide rates?
Councillor Neale Richmond (FG) agreed with Deputy Boyd Barrett that economic factors and unemployment were adversely influencing the suicide rate in Ireland.
“The downturn in the economy has impacted on suicide rates. Common problems which impact on young men in particular include income, family and peer pressure, failure in school and low self-esteem.”
Cllr Richmond welcomed the announcement of the suicide prevention campaign, and urged that it be widely publicised.
“While there are services available for people suffering from mental health problems, there is a need for greater communication – both to the general public about the service’s ability to offer support, and between the services themselves.
“Road deaths in Ireland have declined in recent years thanks to a visible and focused campaign. It is my hope that we can see similar results in this area, too.”
Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State for mental health, said: “We need to get involved in a massive public information campaign, specifically geared toward specific groups. We have gone past the notion of not speaking about [suicide in Ireland].
“In the coming year, plans will be in place to have specialist nurses in hospitals so that when someone presents with issues of self-harming and feel they have no option but suicide, these people are trained for interventions and follow-up care to make sure the person continues with treatment.”
Ciaran Austin, director of services with Console Ireland, the national suicide charity, said: “We welcome it absolutely. Statistics are at an all time high, and we need to get the message out there.”

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