Suicide biggest killer of young

Suicide biggest killier of young – Evening Echo Monday August 9, 2010

Calls have beeen made for immediate allocation of €10 million to the National Suicide Prevention Office. TD DAN NEVILLE Fine Gael spokesman on mental health, has made a call for the funding, to meet the challenges of the growing crisis of suicide. He recently addressed the Union of Students in Ireland on the countrry’s worrying suicide rates. Here he talks about what people need to do that makes them happy rather thatn trying to achieve an unatainable idea of perfection

It is important to maintain a balanced diet to keep yourself healthy and to do something you enjoy – it shouldn’t be a source of stress. Young people should be encouraged to study because they want to do well, not for others. Most importantly, it is the best thing to do what makes you happy rather than living your life by anyone else’s standards.

Reaching for perfection is the most damaging thing we can do to ourselves. This is true for the simple reason that perfection does not exist. It’s a myth. If we continue to reach for the unattainable we are sure to fail and, in continuously failing, we become down and depressed. In order to cope with the pressures of the modern world many of us turn to self-harm, drugs, alcohol, or crime or succumb to eating disorders and to suicidal behaviour.

Prevention of suicide is in everybody’s interest, not just the responsibility of experts. Everyone can do something to help reduce the number of people who try to solve their problems with suicidal behaviors. Since suicide is caused by so many different factors, it can be combated in many different ways. While it is a very complex area a number of programmes have been designed with the aim of increasing awareness of the factors around suicide and there are useful resources for communities and individuals to familiarise themselves with some of the issues. A simple rule of thumb which can never be overlooked is: never underestimate the power of listening.

Ireland has experienced one of the fastest rising suicide rates in the world. As a cause of death among young Irish people, suicide exceeds both deaths due to cancer and road traffic accidents. Ireland has the fourth highest youth suicide rate in Europe. The suicide figures for 2009 showed a 25% increase on those for 2008. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) report that of the 527 lives were lost to suicide in Ireland in 2009, Males accounted for 422 deaths by suicide while female deaths was 105. 239 died in road accidents. Suicide is now the commonest form of death in young men in Ireland.

Research into suicide since the 1890s has demonstrated an increase in suicide rates and mental illness during times of economic recession. Unemployment has a profound effect on a person, especially on the young and those in middle age. Despite the financial crisis the country is in, the Government must respond to the psychological, emotional and psychiatric difficulties visiting our people as a result of the changed economic times and in doing so must enable the National Suicide Prevention Office to respond to this in the context of suicide. I believe there should be an immediate allocation of €10 million extra to this office in order to meet the challenges of a growing crisis.