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Sinn Féin welcomes Tough Times Campaign - Ó Caoláin

19 June, 2007


For immediate release: June 19th 2007

Speaking today from Leinster House Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has welcomed the launch of a new innovative mental health campaign directed at young people in distress.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"I would like to wholeheartedly welcome the Tough Times campaign launched today and commend the project coordinators, youth led charity SpunOut.ie, for delivering an imaginative and proactive campaign which will provide critical information for young people suffering emotional and psychological distress.

“Ireland has the 5th highest rate of suicide in Europe amongst the 15-25 year age group with death by suicide being the number one cause of death for young Irish men and more than 10,000 people presenting themselves to A&E due to self-harm.

"Fianna Fáil has completely failed to deal with this crisis and the result is that for many people who are at risk and their families, there is not appropriate help available. It has been left to charities such as SpunOut.ie to fill this gap.

“This year a mere €1.85 million has been provided by Mary Harney for suicide prevention. This is a paltry amount when you compare it to Scotland’s 2007 budget of €18 million.

“Mental health services need to be significantly improved for young people. Training initiatives for family doctors and guidelines for A&E personnel responding to patients presenting with deliberate self-harm or acute suicidal behaviour are urgently needed.

“The Dublin government must take their lead on tackling suicide prevention from Sinn Féin Education Minister for the northern Assembly Caitriona Ruane. Minister Ruane announced this week that counselling services are to be made available to post primary school children from September following a meeting with parents whose children had taken their own lives.

“Sinn Féin is committed to supporting campaigns, charities and community based initiatives that in the absence of a cohesive government strategy on suicide prevention provide these vital public support services.”

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