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Harney says suicide rise is linked to economic problems

More older people with financial problems are taking their own lives, the Minister for Health says.

THERE IS A “strong link” between Ireland’s rising rate of suicide and the economic problems the country is facing, according to the Minister for Health Mary Harney.

Harney said that the age-group of people dying by suicide has changed, with more older people who are experiencing financial problems now taking their own lives.

She said:

Clearly there has to be a strong link between our economic circumstances and suicide.

Suicide as we know has increased dramatically over the past 12 months, it is up 25 per cent, which is incredible. The profile of those dying by suicide is also changing.

Speaking at that launch of ESB’s Electric Aid Ireland initiative, which was first set up by staff in 2005 and which will provide €1m in funding for suicide prevention organisations in 2011.

So far, the initiative has given over €5m in funds to 522 projects across Ireland.

Harney praised the work done by suicide prevention groups, saying that two people in her circle of friends had been touched by suicide and the effect had been devastating:

The tragedy left for families and individuals is immense. It’s said that people never get over it. They learn to live with it due to good professional help, but they never get over it.

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Harney added that she would be meeting with groups over the coming weeks to discuss how to “make resources go further”.

She said:

In recent times, notwithstanding the pressures that everyone is under, there’s a great spirit of wanting to give things back and of wanting to help and we cannot do enough as a society to help promote suicide prevention.

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