Young people at increased risk of suicidal behaviour

Young people between the ages of 15-24 have an increased risk of suicide behaviour according to a report published by the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) earlier this month.

There were 11,189 presentations of self-harm to hospital in 2015 involving 8,791 individuals according to the NOSP’s annual report, a number which is up almost 10 per cent since before the recession.

On a somewhat positive note, the number of confirmed suicides within Ireland in 2013 was lower than 500 for the second time in the previous six years, with the country ranking relatively low in comparison with its European neighbours.

There were 487 suicides in 2013 in the findings showing some stabilisation in the overall suicide rate since a startling spike from 458 to 506 in 2007 and 2008 respectively and a peak of 554 in 2011.

80.3 per cent of the 487 suicides in 2013 were committed by males and a three per cent rise in the female self-harm rate from 2014 to 2015 shows issues in mental health with both genders.

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee TD, who lost her father by suicide in December 2012, said she has developed a ‘taskforce’ to deal with the high levels of suicide and self-harm in young people.

McEntee said: “I would like to highlight the work of the new Taskforce on Youth Mental Health in helping to ensure long-term, quality and accessible youth supports around the country.”

Sinn Fein Deputy Mary Lou McDonald expressed her concern of the data released yesterday saying they are for “grim and stark reading”.

“What is required is the provision of 24/7 crisis intervention services when people most need help and which would offer adequate care saving people’s lives,” said McDonald.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Director of the NOSP Gerry Raleigh welcomed the publication of the statistics but feels there is much room for improvement.

“I think our services can never be good enough and I think we have to endeavour to improve them. I acknowledged problems with access to service at times, they’ve been well discussed. I’m aware of issues with staffing in some of our special services,” he said.

Brein McGinn

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