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Giving men the opportunity to text is a "major development" in the fight against suicide

“It’s about meeting people where they’re at – and men simply prefer to type than talk,” says Paul Kelly of Console.

ConsoleAnnualConference2015-48 Paul Kelly of Console with Gráinne Seoige at the Aviva Stadium today Source: Conor McCabe

Updated 16.30

TODAY MARKS WORLD Suicide Prevention Day, with a worldwide concerted effort to bring awareness to a topic that many still find extremely difficult to discuss.

With that in mind, Ireland’s national suicide charity Console has released data pertaining to its suicide helplines, and particularly its text service.

Texts to the service (‘Help’ to 51444) have increased by more than 50% over the last year with over 4,000 received in 2015 to date.

The vast majority (62%) of those texting are male.

However, when it comes to calling the Console helpline the figures are dominated to a great extent by women.

texthelp

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3,400 monthly calls are made to the helpline this month, and of those calling 61% are female.

“The text service has certainly been one of the major developments for us in recent times,” Console CEO Paul Kelly told TheJournal.ie.

The women who are calling, they talk about their problems – be it crisis, stresses, concern for a loved one – these are people who are at risk.
Men by their nature though, they see it as a weakness to talk. When the text service came in it became so apparent, men prefer to type than talk.

Kelly sees the success of the text service as a major breakthrough – one that has forced a real shift in the charity’s way of thinking.

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Currently males in Ireland are four times more likely to take their own life.

It’s amazing because guys who weren’t connecting, who wouldn’t seek help because they’d see it as weakness for instance, they are finding that there’s help and there’s hope, a qualified therapist is just a text away.
Men by their very nature, the anonymity of the service is ideal.
Once that connection is made it may be sufficient – that is the real challenge.

Kelly says that the success of the text service is a “fantastic start”, but that now the charity needs to start thinking about social media.

“Now there’s a social media generation that needs to be worked on,” he says.

It’s about meeting these people where they’re at, and where they’re comfortable.
We lose 500 people annually through suicide. Most of them are male. If we can reach them, well then we’re making progress.

If you are affected by any part of this story, or if you are experiencing problems and wish to seek help the following helplines may be of use:

  • Console  1800 247 247, or text Help to 51444 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Aware 1890 303 302 (depression, anxiety)

  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie - (suicide, self-harm)

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Originally published 6am

Read: Bressie on what NOT to say to someone who’s depressed

Read: Living with anxiety is difficult enough without being told to cheer up

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