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Report: Irish rate of young male suicide ‘among EU’s highest’

The cross-border Men’s Health Forum in Ireland also says self-harming is higher in males at some age grades.

Image: Young man photo via Shutterstock

IRELAND’S RATE of suicide among young males is among the highest in the European Union, a report on male suicide published today will declare.

The Young Men and Suicide Report, compiled by the cross-border Men’s Health Forum in Ireland, says that while the rate of male suicide across all age groups is relatively low by European norms, suicide rates among younger males is high.

It also found that suicide now ranks as a major cause of death among young males in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, and that the recent spike in suicide rates on either side of the border had clashed with both the economic downturn and an increase in unemployment.

It further found that though the issue of deliberate self-harm was more commonly associated with women, rates of deliberate self-harm are now higher in males at some age groups.

The report outlines 12 key recommendations, including the development and promotion of positive models of mental health aimed at young males, and challenging the ‘traditional masculine ideology’ which is seen as a cause of difficulty in encouraging men to seek help.

‘No quick fix’

“There can be no quick-fix solutions to tackling the very grave statistics on suicide in young men on the island of Ireland, but neither is there any place for inertia or ambivalence,” said Dr Noel Richardson, the lead author of the report.

There is both a public health and a moral requirement to act. There needs to be a concerted effort to engage more effectively, and in a more sustained way, with young men, and to plan services and programmes with young men in mind.

The report outlines evidence that early intervention in childhood, where men are taught not to attach a stigma to emotional expression, can help improve mental health at later stages of life.

However, there were also concerns that many people may perceive the issues faced by young men as trivial, when the issues causing distress to them are experienced as major problems for the young men themselves.

Junior health minister Kathleen Lynch, whose responsibilities include mental health, will tell the formal launch of the report that reducing suicide rates “requires a collective, concerted effort and, most importantly, a collaborative approach.”

Read: Samaritans’ SMS service reveals high levels of self-harm

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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