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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 20 December, 2014

One teen under age of 17 dies by suicide each month

New Irish study raises concern over 15- to 17-year-old age group while British study links recession and unemployment to rise in overall suicide rate.

Image: Richard Holt/Press Association Images

A REPORT PUBLISHED by the Irish Medical Journal has revealed that there has been a 16 per cent increase in a 20-year period in the rate of suicide in Irish teens under the age of 17.

The study found that most of these suicide victims were aged between 15 and 17. The research was carried out jointly by UCD and St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin and compared figures from the 1993-98 period to those from 2003-08.

Speaking to Petrina Voudsen in the Irish Daily Mail, Dan Neville of the Irish Association of Suicidology said that he feared the issue would be “further exacerbated by the downturn”.

The findings come as a study in the British Medical Journal linked the recession to an increase in the rate of suicide in the UK. Researchers from the University of Liverpool found that the rate of suicide in areas of high unemployment had increased and that there had been a “dramatic spike” in suicides in 2008 and 2009 as the recession kicked in, according to lead researcher Ben Barr.

While the researchers did acknowledge that there may be further reasons for the localisation of suicides in under-privileged areas, they did write in the report:

On its own, our study cannot ascertain whether the association between job loss and suicides is causal; however, the strength of the effect size, timing, consistency, coherence with previous research, existence of plausible mechanisms, and absence of any obvious alternative explanation suggest that it is likely to be.

Similarly, a pilot study carried out by the National Suicide Research Foundation here found a link between the economic downturn and suicide rates in Ireland. It examined the circumstances surrounding 190 deaths in Cork, showing that one-third of those victims had worked in construction and related businesses which bore the brunt of the downturn and unemployment increase.

Writing in TheJournal.ie last month, Dan Neville spoke about the need to “change our attitude to suicide. Mental illness is like any other illness. Professional help must be sought at an early stage and the State must provide the services required to help those with this illness to recover”.

For information or support on mental health and suicide, contact the following organisations:

  • Samaritans 1850 60 90 900 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634
  • Console 1800 201 890
  • Aware 1890 303 302
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie

Read: Suicide isn’t wanting to die. It’s not being able to bear living>

Sharp increase in suicide rate is linked to recession>

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