World Suicide Awareness Day highlights dire need for Suicide Prevention Programmes to be introduced – Neville

Speaking on World Suicide Prevention today (Thursday), Fine Gael Mental Health Spokesman and President of the Irish Association of Suicidology (IAS), Dan Neville TD, said establishing suicide prevention programmes is urgently needed to reduce levels of suicide in Ireland, which is tragic evidence of the failure of the Government to support suicide prevention.

“Surveys show that 15% of people have a family member who died by suicide. Three out of four people know somebody who died by suicide and, of those who knew someone who died by suicide, the person was most likely to be a friend or a neighbour. One in five of those who knew someone who took their own life said that it was a family member.

“It is clear that much experience of the issue is therefore ‘direct’ to some extent and that the impact of suicide on people is much higher than was believed. The Government must take the lead from other countries in putting in place suicide prevention programmes.

“The Government’s failure to address the problem is outrageous when one considers that in excess of 11,000 people present at Accident and Emergency having self-harmed and it is conservatively estimated that in excess of 60,000 self-harm each hear. Surveys show that just 40% of those surveyed report being aware of a suicide attempt, further highlighting the need for prevention programmes.

“Depression and loneliness dominate as perceived reasons for death by suicide. Although a range of other specific factors are also mentioned in surveys, the dominance of depression and loneliness on this measure suggests they are considered to be the overriding causes. Other causes stated were ‘pressures and stresses of life/inability to cope’, ‘money problems’, ‘relationship difficulties’ and ‘use of alcohol/drugs’. Only 6% cited mental illness as a reason.

“It is clear that suicide and attempted suicide are having a serious effect on many of the population. The neglect of the past 10 years in dealing with the issue must stop and a commitment to allocating resources to reduce suicide must be demanded of the Government and provided by them.”