Suicide prevention is critical in a recession – Neville

Unemployment and home loss has been found to be the most common economic strains associated with suicide

The Fine Gael Spokesperson for Mental Health, Dan Neville TD, today (Tuesday) called on the Minister for Health and Children to reverse the decision to cut resources to funding for suicide prevention and suicide bereavement support. The Minister must do so due to the heightened risk of suicide and mental illness as a consequence of economic recession by increasing the budget allocation to prevention services. These services are critical in the prevention of suicide and Fine Gael has consistently called on the Government to protect the most vulnerable during this recession.

“Research into suicide since the 1890s shows that there is an increase in suicide rates and mental illness during times of economic recession. The Minister for Health and Children and the HSE need to immediately reverse their decision not to pay €1 million funding to the voluntary bodies involved in suicide prevention and bereavement from the Dormant Accounts Fund. Minister Harney must also reverse the decision to reduce the funding to the National Suicide Prevention Office by 12.5%.

“There needs to be an immediate allocation of increased funding to the National Suicide Prevention Office to respond to society’s changed circumstances. Economic strain and personal financial crises have been well documented as precipitating events in individual deaths by suicide.

“There needs to be an immediate allocation of increased funding to the National Suicide Prevention Office to respond to society’s changed circumstances. Economic strain and personal financial crises have been well documented as precipitating events in individual deaths by suicide.

“Unemployment affects the suicide rate. Unemployment has a profound effect on a person, especially on the young and on those in middle age. The unemployed are six times more likely to be suffering from a psychiatric disorder than those in employment. Of the men who took their lives in the Kelleher/Daly Cork Study in the 1980s two thirds were out of work at the time of their deaths.

“A person’s sense of self esteem is often associated with their jobs and home. Loss of either can have a devastating effect on their self worth and can lead to tragic consequences. We have a moral duty to help protect these vulnerable people.

“The Minister for Health and Children must immediately respond to the psychological, emotional and psychiatric difficulties visiting our people as a result of the changed economic times and in doing this must recognise the need to enable the National Suicide Prevention Office to respond to this in the context of suicide.”