Adams commends work of suicide prevention group SOSAD
The Sinn Féin leader attended an information meeting organised by SOSAD in Drogheda today during which the group outlined the growing scale of the problem.
Speaking afterward Deputy Adams called for SOSAD to receive government funding. He said:
“It is thought that the number of people who died through suicide in 2009 in this state could be as high as 700. There is also a significant increase in the number of people who are deliberately self-harming.
Between 2007 and 2009 the number of deliberate self-harm (DSH) cases rose by 23 per cent in men and 13 per cent in women.In 2009 there were 11,966 cases.
It is widely accepted that the current economic recession has played a major part in the increased number of people dying through suicide or who are self-harming.
One speaker for SOSAD at the Drogheda event warned that there has not been the usual summer drop-off in calls for help to their offices.
While suicide is now better understood than before, the fact remains that there is not sufficient funding for dealing with mental health issues.
All of the speakers today expressed anger at the refusal of the government to fund SOSAD. It was also accepted that the current suicide prevention strategy is not robust enough.
Suicide kills more people in this state than road accidents but tackling it does not receive the same priority from government.
This is an example of the failure of the health system to properly manage and resource this vitally important issue.
One way of tackling suicide and self-harm, particularly at a time of recession, would be to provide for greater co-operation between the health services north and south.
The creation of a national – all-Ireland – Suicide Prevention Agency that brings together all of those bodies and strategies involved in this issue, and has effective and dedicated funding and resourcing, would also make a major contribution to reducing the numbers who die each year.