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Figures relating to suicide ‘only the tip of the iceberg’ – Ó Caoláin

10 September, 2014 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has spoken out about the lack of progress by the current government in relation to mental health issues and suicide, and has voiced concern at the understating of the problem in statistics on suicide currently employed.

Speaking on International Suicide Prevention Day Deputy Ó Caoláin said;

“Today our sympathies go out to all those affected by suicide. Ireland has apparently the fourth highest rate of suicide in Europe but unfortunately these figures are likely to represent only the tip of the iceberg as many cases go unreported. Figures relating to attempts at suicide also need to be established as they will help us to fully assess the extent of the problem in order to properly provide services for those most in need.

“Suicide leaves a terrible legacy and this legacy is seen the length and breadth of this island. We in Sinn Féin have advocated making suicide prevention an area of co-operation on an All-Ireland basis.

“It has already been reported that only 44% of psychiatric hospitals and mental health facilities are compliant with staffing level regulations which flies in the face of A Vision for Change, the Government’s mental health strategy.

“This is just one more sign that austerity is not working. What our young people need are functioning services, along with viable job opportunities, to have some chance of a worthwhile future here at home. The current climate of continual cutbacks only breeds further inequality and in turn contributes to the increased levels of suicide, and attempted suicide, among young people in Ireland.

“Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch has said that ‘the Government is very concerned’ about the high rate of reported suicide. Unfortunately this concern will mean little to those affected by suicide. We note that funding for suicide prevention had been doubled to €8m but we have previously called on the Government to commit to an annual allocation of €35 million for the development of community mental health teams, to make good any shortfall in any given year in the subsequent year’s allocation and to properly resource mental health services across the board. That provision has not been made in 2014. Once again we see that government policy is failing the most vulnerable.”


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