6/16/2007

Education Minister to appoint Counsellors

I see that Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitriona Ruane will appoint Counsellors to all post-primary schools in the hope of reducing the scourge of suicide.



This comes on the back of reports that more and more teenagers are committing suicide.

Last week, two young people died in a suicide pact they made on the internet. Their bodies were taken from a lake in Tyrone. Eight attempted suicides were reported in the Shankill Road area in one 24-hour period.

Over the last decade suicide rates have increased by over 25% across the island of Ireland.

While this initiative by Caitriona is to be commended I think the main stumbling block will not be the number of counsellors but getting young people, especially young lads, to use them.

There is still a stigma out there that by seeking advice and help from a counsellor that this makes you weak or unbalanced. Irish men are the worst examples of this because of the way they were brought up.

We are brought being told that men don't cry, only women cry. A lot of Irish men are emotionally retarded and withdrawn because of this.

We don't confide in one another the way girls do and for many men their own means of interaction is though slagging and making a joke of the subject.

It is this mindset and consensus that we need to change.

It doesn't matter how many people are out there for you to talk to if you don't talk to them.

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