Fianna Fáil Seanad spokesperson on Health Marc Mac Sharry said new figures from the HSE’s Office for Suicide Prevention are an indictment of the Government’s lack of action on the issue. The statistics reveal that Ireland has the fourth highest rate of deaths by suicide in the EU among young men aged between 15-19.
Senator Mac Sharry commented, “These figures should act as a wake-up call for Minister Kathleen Lynch and the Government as a whole. Not only have suicide rates in Ireland reached crisis levels, more than 11,000 people were treated in hospitals last year for self-harming. This is a clear indication that the Government policies on suicide and mental health are not working.
“Despite the rhetoric from Ministers, little has been done to tackle this silent crisis and current initiatives have been rendered almost ineffective. The population of an entire village is lost to suicide every year in Ireland, yet the Government continues to divert money away from mental health services, while essentially stalling “Vision for Change”. This is not good enough, lives are being needlessly lost every day and we continue to pay lip service to something that has reached crisis point in Ireland.
“Fianna Fáil has been coming up with tangible policies to address the scourge of suicide. Last year we published the policy document “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”, which set out a suggested funding model to resource a robust suicide prevention policy. However in July this year the Seanad voted down the Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Bill 2014, the draft legislation which included provisions to generate sustainable funding for suicide prevention and mental health services.
“There is an acceptance that more resources are needed to adequately support our mental health services but only the Government has the power to allocate the necessary funds. I’m calling on Ministers Varadkar and Lynch to ensure that funding for mental health services are ring fenced and protected in the upcoming Budget. The crisis will only continue unless sufficient resources are available and maintained”.