Figure “an indictment of government lack of action”, says Sligo Senator
Suicides in Ireland are at a new record level with the country now the fourth highest in Europe for deaths of young men.
According to figures released by the HSE Office for Suicide Prevention, recorded rates for males are highest in the 15 to 19 age group.
It has also been revealed that more than 11,000 people were treated for self-harming last year.
However, despite growing public alarm the government had done little to tackle the crisis, says Sligo-Leitrim senator, Marc Mac Sharry.
Commenting on the latest figures, Senator MacSharry said deaths from suicide every year now equalled the population of an entire village.
The statistics, he said were “an indictment of the government’s lack of action on the issue” and should “act as a wakeup call for Minister Kathleen Lynch and the government as a whole.”
He also accused the government of continually diverting money away from mental health services, and “essentially stalling the ‘Vision for Change’ “
This was not good enough, he said. “Lives are being needlessly lost every day and we continue to pay lip service to something that has reached crisis point in Ireland.”
Fianna Fail had been coming up with what, he said were “tangible policies to address the situation.
“Last year we published the policy document “Actions Speak Louder than Words”, which set out a suggested funding model to resource a robust suicide prevention policy. However, in July this year the Seanad voted down the Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Bill 2014, the draft legislation which included provisions to generate sustainable funding for suicide prevention and mental health services.”
Senator MacSharry said there was “an acceptance that more resources are needed to adequately support our mental health services but only the Government has the power to allocate the necessary funds.”
Calling on Ministers Varadkar and Lynch to ensure funding for the services are “ring fenced and protected in the coming budget”, he warned that the crisis “will continue unless sufficient resources are available and maintained.”
Sligo News File Online