Wednesday 25 April 2018

Concern for mental health of the nation amid rising toll of suicide

Hospitals, counsellors and coroners all report that suicide is on the rise in every age group, says Maeve Sheehan

IT was difficult for Eddie D'Alton to pick up on the warning signs when his son was in another country.

Shane D'Alton had left his close-knit family in Templeogue, south Dublin, for Australia in August 2008. He was 23, handsome, popular, a newly qualified electrician and eager to embark on life's adventure. There was backpacking to do and money to earn. He kept in touch with Eddie, his mother Sue, and his 11-year-old sister by Skype.

"As the weeks went on, he wasn't himself. We thought it was homesickness," said Eddie. During one of their Skype calls, Eddie noticed a mark on his son's arm. Shane said he had cut himself. Why did you do that, his father asked. Shane replied: "I just wanted to see if I could feel it."

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