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United approach needed to address high rates of suicide

10 September, 2004

In a statement marking Suicide Awareness Day, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said a united approach was needed by all state and voluntary agencies to increase awareness of suicide and to change public attitudes to depression and other mental health problems. Deputy Ó Caoláin said improvements in our neglected mental health services were essential.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

"Suicide Awareness Day provides an opportunity to focus on the steps necessary to address the level of suicides in Ireland. The rate among young males is particularly alarming. Negative attitudes to those who suffer mental health problems, including depression, need to be replaced with a positive approach. Such an approach will help encourage those who find themselves suffering depression to seek help. This is especially important for young people as intervention in or before the early teenage years can be crucial.

"It is widely agreed that mental health is the most neglected sector of our health services. Major improvements are essential. We also need to see delivery by Government of the promised major upgrading of our primary care system. General practitioners are the most easily accessible section of the health services and are best placed to intervene at the earliest stage to treat people with depressive illnesses and other psychiatric disorders." ENDS

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