Suicide prevention not getting the supports it needs - Crowe
Responding to a report published at a conference on suicide prevention this morning that showed 35 Travellers living in and around the west Dublin area have died through suicide in the last 18 months, Sinn Féin Social Affairs spokesperson Seán Crowe, who attended the conference entitled Moving Beyond Coping, called for more financial support for local groups dealing with the issue. He was speaking after questioning Minister Noel Ahern on the matter in the Dáil yesterday, where he specifically raised the need to fund suicide prevention schemes.
The Dublin South-West TD said: “Yesterday I questioned Minister Noel Ahern about the allocation of a million Euros to 20 suicide prevention projects around the state from the dormant account funds. Of these 20 groups, eight are in Dublin, only one is in Connacht. While not the sole source of funding for these groups, it is representative of the limited investment, heavily focussed in Dublin, the Government has put into suicide prevention. The National Office of Suicide Prevention was set up in the last year and it received only €1.2 million in funding. There seems to be a lack of recognition at Cabinet level about the seriousness of the problem.
“Eleven thousand young people cause themselves deliberate self-harm every year and we have the fifth highest suicide rate in the EU for 15 to 24 year olds. The rate is even higher for men in their 20s and 30s, with men under 35 accounting for approximately 40% of suicides. I welcome the fact that the funding was given to groups, but there were 125 applications for funding. Other groups, including a highly effective one in my own constituency called Teenline were outside the application process.
“It is with a heavy heart that I welcome the report by the Tallaght Travellers Youth Service published today because within its pages is catalogued a story of devastation of a small, marginalised community by suicide. Behind the statistics are families scarred by and loss of a loved one in tragic circumstances. I hope the report serves to galvanise the Government into increased funding for voluntary suicide prevention schemes across the state along with a greater co-ordination of services, and communication between, both voluntary and state agencies.”