Government ‘still not pulling its weight on suicide prevention’ – Buckley
Sinn Féin Suicide Prevention spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has welcomed news that rates of suicide in the state decreased last year, but said the state relied too much on voluntary initiatives and was not pulling its weight.
Deputy Buckley said:
“Of course, we welcome the fact that less people took their lives last year, but we still have a significant problem in this country. We have emerged slowly from a very dark period in the last number of years. Mass emigration and unemployment may not be the issues they were but their effects are still deeply felt and they were major driving forces behind the high number of suicides in the last decade. Economic factors have improved on a superficial level but under-employment, poverty, and disadvantage remain rife and these factors are major problems for mental health.
“The state has in recent years encouraged the proliferation of community and voluntary groups that are tackling the issue of suicide. These groups do amazing work and have saved countless lives. Suicide prevention training facilitated across the state has also helped. However, government action is the key to lasting change.
“The government has to be the leader in not just developing strategies but implementing them on the ground through the HSE to provide early intervention, crisis services, counselling at primary care, and school based programmes. Suicide prevention cannot be outsourced or privatised. Providing services and an environment which protects against the causes of suicide is a central role of any government.
“Sinn Féin will be proposing significant investment in mental health services and suicide prevention in Budget 2018 and the government must live up to their promises which they reneged on in their first budget.”