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Suicide crisis line sees 40pc surge in calls

ALMOST 500 people died by suicide in Ireland last year -- most of them young men.

The number of people seeking help from a major suicide crisis service rose by 40pc in just six months.

New figures released today by Pieta House showed the huge increase in the first half of this year.

Last year, 486 people died by suicide -- 386 were male and 100 were female.

Research indicates that men aged 18-34 tend to turn to their mothers for support if in distress, instead of health professionals, said psychologist Joan Freeman, chief executive of Pieta House.


Pieta House has four centres in Dublin and one in Limerick.

"The recession is definitely contributing to the increase in people coming to Pieta House," said Ms Freeman. "We're seeing a lot more young men, many of whom are unemployed and feel they have no role in society."

Pieta House released its findings for Suicide Awareness Week which begins today.

"We want to remind people that we are here to help and we urge people who feel they can't cope or who find themselves in crisis to please contact us," said Ms Freeman

"Our services are free of charge and we're equipped to help people get through their crisis."

Pieta House started out in Lucan, Co Dublin, five years ago and since then they have opened centres in Finglas, Tallaght, Ballyfermot and Limerick -- which also covers Co Clare and North Tipperary.

To highlight the issue of suicide in Ireland, Pieta House will hold a 'flash mob' in both Dublin and Limerick next Saturday at 12pm.

More than 250 people will gather wearing a white T-shirt with the slogan 'Suicide can happen to anyone' printed in black.

Fine Gael TD for Limerick, and President of the Irish Association of Suicidology, Dan Neville, today called for much more investment in adolescent psychiatric services.

"In times of recession, when opportunities are limited, the pressure of expectations has serious consequences for vulnerable young people," he said.

"Ireland has one of the fastest rising suicide rates in the world. It is a phenomenon that is particularly devastating among our youth.

"Between 2003 and 2008, there was an increase in rates of suicide of 40pc for boys and 50pc for girls. It's estimated that there are two suicides per month by children younger than 15 years old."

For more information log on to www.pieta.ie.