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Worrying extent of suicide levels among young people laid bare

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IRELAND has one of the highest suicide rates among young people, ranking fourth in Europe.

A new report says that there has been a sharp rise in the number of young people, particularly men, taking their own lives, rising from ten in every 100,000 in 1990 to more than 25 today.

And the Suicide in Ireland 2003-2008 report also found evidence of clusters of people taking their own lives.

“I think this has been previously under-estimated,” the report’s author Professor Kevin Malone said.

“If you just rely on anecdotes, you will only see part of the problem. We systematically examined for clustering in every case. Our findings suggest that up to 50pc of our under-18 suicide deaths in Ireland may be part of couplets or clusters.

“We have to place cluster-busting in our suicide prevention agenda. We need a national, year-round real-time early-warning system – it can’t just be in schools, as several of these young suicide deaths occur in kids who have left the school system”. 

Some 104 families interviewed also said they often had a negative experience with state services, including the health services, gardai and education.

One family reported that their son had been “stitched up in A/E, given a month’s prescription and sent home” with another family citing that they had been sent to another hospital with a note that read “Sorry, not our area”. 

There was a need for gardai and coroners to undergo more training, it added.

In a section dealing with ‘Education’, further experiences included an account of one student having been “beaten up” by one of his teachers, which was seen to be a contributing factor in his eventual suicide.

Online Editors