This weekend is the Ógra Shinn Féin National Conference. Ógra Shinn Féin today called for an all-island approach to suicide awareness in a bid to reduce the alarming rate of deaths, the second highest in Europe.
Ireland has the second highest suicide rate in Europe with 577 reported deaths by suicide in 2004, more than the number of people killed in road accidents, yet Government spending on mental health has fallen from 11% of Department of Health spending to 6.9% since 1997.
Ógra Shinn Féin spokeswoman, Andrea O’Kane, said “Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in Ireland therefore it is imperative that Ogra begin campaigning and disseminating information on this issue.“Although statistics are strikingly high amongst young men, suicide transcends class, gender, and age, ethnic or religious background.”
Andrea said the campaign would focus on providing information, improving awareness and the demand for an all-Ireland approach.
Addressing the Ógra Shinn Féin national conference, Gerry Adams said: “It is the biggest killer of young people in our country. That makes suicide a national disaster. Our country urgently eeds a national plan to address this crisis. Concern about suicide is greatest in local communities.
Alongside the anguish of bereavement, there is a growing sense of burn-out.Families do not receive the support they need to cope with the strain of someone who is feeling suicidal, or with the aftermath of someone who takes his or her own life.Many other parents carry a sense of dread, worrying about the fate of their own children.”
I fully agree with Andrea, this is an issue that needs tackled and tackled quickly. I remember last year attending the funeral of a fellow Student and Sinn Féin member in my local area who took his life. This was one of the hardest wakes and funerals that I have ever attended. The devestation that this caused his family can't be explained in words.
I would like to wish Ógra all the best in their campaign.