Coalition has 'done nothing' to tackle suicide

Fri, Oct 26, 2012, 01:00

THE HEAD OF an Irish suicide prevention agency claims the Government has “worse than failed” when it comes to tackling mental health and suicide issues.

Although Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised to make mental health and suicide prevention a priority, little has been done to address the issue, according to the chairman of Turn the Tide of Suicide, Noel Smyth.

“They have worse than failed when it comes to dealing with mental health. They have totally reneged on their promise. We have met with all the relevant ministers over the years. Going away and doing nothing seems to be part of their course,” he said.

“They talk to you, wring their hands and say everything they will do. Then they do nothing.

“They absolutely have to take notice and deliver the message they promised. The reality is that if we do not change our ways, we will lose more young people. We can’t just treat this like just another problem.”

Mr Smyth said that one of the only ways to tackle suicide would be the development of a suicide prevention authority, much like the Road Safety Authority, as three times more people die from suicide than on Irish roads.

“A dedicated Suicide Prevention Authority with the autonomy to address this issue is the only solution. The aim of our campaign is to highlight just how big the problem of suicide is in Ireland and to create a groundswell of public support for change,” he said.

Turn the Tide of Suicide, which receives no Government funding,launched its campaign to boost suicide awareness among young men in Ireland this week. The campaign includes a video of people observing suicide-related photos across Dublin.

The videos were produced to bring a new sense of awareness to suicide figures that may not be known. The campaign includes posters depicting Government reluctance to tackle the suicide issue and a petition. So far, reaction to the campaign has been positive. “The campaign is new, but we have received positive feedback so far.”