Saturday 22 October 2016

Suicide responsible for more than one in four deaths of young Irish people

Catherine Devine

Published 12/05/2016 | 17:08

Picture posed. Thinkstock Images
Picture posed. Thinkstock Images

Self-harm is the largest killer among 15 to 24-year-olds in Ireland - new figures have revealed.

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The study by the Lancet Commission showed suicide was responsible for 27pc of deaths in the age category in 2013.

The figures come only weeks after the Government announced that they were re-allocating €12m of the mental health budget.

A spokesperson for said that the high figures “do and don’t” surprise her.

“Deaths from self-harm might not always have suicidal intent but it can go too far. For lots of people who engage in self harm, it’s a coping mechanism.

“Budget cuts aren’t a good signal to people in distress. If they were to reach out and haven’t before they don’t know what will be out there to help them. Budget cuts are not very encouraging.

“Services have been hammered across the country and are completely under sourced. We need to rethink what services are providing and use the money in a more creative and effective way.”

Road injuries were the second largest cause of death with 22pc.

Almost 8pc of deaths were due to the use of drugs, while illnesses such as leukemia, epilepsy and immune disorders were low.

According to the CSO, 215 people, aged between 15 and 24, died 2013. The Lancet report shows the results of the top ten killers for young people - accounting for 160 of the 215 deaths.

The Lancet Commission on adolescent health portrays young people around the world going through physical, emotional, social and cultural changes.

“Better childhood health and nutrition, extensions to education, delays in family formation, and new technologies offer the possibility of this being the healthiest generation of adolescents ever,” the report claims.

However it also states that: “Global trends include those promoting unhealthy lifestyles and commodities, the crisis of youth unemployment, less family stability, environmental degradation, armed conflict, and mass migration, all of which pose major threats to adolescent health and wellbeing.”

The biggest risk to young people’s health in Ireland was alcohol and drug abuse, childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Depression and anxiety disorders were among the top five causes of ill-health for young women across the world in all age groups in both 1990 and 2013, according to the report.

In the UK, 329 young people aged 20 to 24 died from self-harm in 2013, which was a fall of 47pc from 626 in 1990. Road traffic accidents were the leading cause of deaths from 10 to 19, killing 313, but this is 63pc lower than the 843 deaths in 1990. However, the mental health of adolescents in the UK and elsewhere in the developed world is a major issue.

Depression was the cause of the largest amount of ill health worldwide in 2013 among young people, affecting more than 10pc of 10 to 24 year olds, according to the new data from the IHME.

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