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93 per cent rise in young people seeking help for self-harm, suicidal thoughts

Suicide and self-harm crisis centre Pieta House says young women account for most of the increase in those seeking help.

Image: Photocall Ireland

A SUICIDE AND self-harm crisis centre Pieta House says it has experienced a 93 per cent rise in the number of people aged under 18 seeking their services last year.

The centre says 70 per cent of the increase accounted for young women, and that this age group also had the highest instance of self-harm.

“The increase in the under-18 category is particularly worrying. We are seeing people because of family breakdown – particularly when parents who can’t afford to separate and continue to live together, bullying – including cyber bullying and peer pressure,” said Joan Freeman, CEO and Founder of Pieta House. “There is a gap in mental health services in the 16-18 year old age group and Pieta House is plugging this gap at the moment.

The group also noted an 86 per cent increase in the 26 -44 age group, which it says makes up almost one third of people accessing its services.

Freeman said this age group reflects a high proportion of mortgage holders and that those coming for help were finding it difficult to deal with their financial circumstances. “Whilst younger people can emigrate, the older age group find themselves stuck because of their debts and other commitments. We help them to overcome that acute period when they feel that they have no hope,” she said.

Pieta House also noted a 40 per cent increase in the number of statutory bodies such as the HSE, Mental Health Services and other agencies referring people for its services.

Pieta House’s annual fundraiser – Darkness into Light - will take place on Friday night/ Saturday morning, 12 May 2012 at 4am in 14 locations across the country. For more details, please visit the website.

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