'Significant' number of teens have tried suicide
A significant minority of Irish adolescents are suffering mental distress and 3.6pc have attempted suicide, according to a new report.
Some 7pc of the 1,112 teens from schools in Cork and Kerry who were surveyed admitted to suicidal thoughts.
Anxiety and symptoms of depression were also reported by hundreds of the youngsters, the report 'Young Lives in Ireland' from the National Suicide Research Foundation revealed.
The data was drawn from the Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe study, and while the majority reported positive well-being, the extent of distress is a concern, the researchers warned.
The young people highlighted the need for school-based individual support, in particular the need for guidance counsellors to be available for those who are under psychological pressure. There needs to be an enhanced universal programme of mental health education.
The report said the roll-out of evidence-based mental health awareness programmes in Irish schools should be undertaken as a matter of priority in order to develop mental health literacy, promote positive mental health and prevent suicide in this vulnerable group.
Children's Ombudsman Dr Niall Muldoon, who launched the report, said having a reputable programme available to all schools was enormously important.
The availability of data to show that both suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts can be reduced by implementing such a programme should be a clarion call.