Sinn Féin EU candidate for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada has stated that the state’s approach to the suicide prevention must be drastically improved.
She also issued a plea to young teenagers to reach out and talk to somebody about their problems.
Ms Ní Riada made the comments after a report, published today by the European Child Safety Alliance, stated that the suicide rate among teenage girls in this state is the highest in the European Union while the rate among young men is the second highest.
Ní Riada said:
“Firstly, I would plead with young people to reach out and talk to somebody they can trust about the things impacting their lives.
“However, we must also look at how the state is responding to the issue of suicide. I think that it is important that all political parties work together, in conjunction with suicide prevention organisations, in order to develop a national strategy that is properly funded and resourced.
“It is clear that the state’s response to date has been wholly inadequate. It must be improved drastically.
Unfortunately, in a climate dominated by economic crisis and cruel austerity measures, lives are being increasingly lost. A focus must be put on how the isolating nature of austerity is impacting the lives of our young people.
“Apart from the normal anxieties experienced by teenagers, many are under increasingly severe pressure due to their parents struggling financially and from seeing their communities and social circles devastated by the scourge of emigration.
“The National Office for Suicide prevention is not fit for purpose. A number of campaign groups have called for a National Suicide Authority that is independent and which would operate with powers similar to those exercised so effectively by the Road Safety Authority in reducing deaths on our roads.
“I recently attended an event in Cork City organised by Shine a Light, who do Trojan work in the area of suicide prevention and awareness, and I was inspired by the stories shared by many who spoke on the night.
“The Government must increase funding to organisations and services which provide support to families who have been affected by suicide. The aim of a National Authority would be to create clarity and unity in suicide prevention.”