‘New insecurities’ increasing suicide risk, says President
Casual employment, mortgage distress and poverty are among factors causing stress
President Michael D Higgins has said in the the western world the security of employment is being stripped away and ‘we are introducing far greater stresses of casualisation in both temporary work, in relation to part-time work, in relation to the structure and definition of work itself’.
People are under greater distress and are more at risk of suicide because of “new insecurities” in employment, President Michael D Higgins has said.
The “stripping away of security of employment” through increased temporary and part-time work was causing “greater stresses”, he said, after addressing a conference marking world suicide prevention day tomorrow organised by Console.
This increased pressure on people created “new obligations” for institutions in “the way that people are spoken to”, he said.
“We are creating new insecurities,” he added.
“Looking right across not just the European Union but the western world we are stripping away the security of employment where it exists and we are introducing far greater stresses of casualisation in both temporary work, in relation to part-time work, in relation to the structure and definition of work itself,” Mr Higgins said.
He said in Ireland more people were at risk of suicide because of economic factors. “What research suggests internationally is that an increase in the at-risk, the pre-disposing factors, are related to economic factors.
“Certainly in Ireland at the present time there is a great deal of additional distress on people in relation to unemployment in relation to poverty and particularly in relation to mortgage distress,” he said.
There was a need for an multi-disciplinary approach “to look and respect complexity that the suicide rate represents”.
Peer pressure, new technology and a “lad culture” which involved alcohol abuse and homophobia were other factors in suicide rates, he added.
Stigma also needed to be tackled since it “keeps people from seeking help”, Mr Higgins said.
It was important people in distress got the help they needed immediately, “not in six months time when the appointments book will allow it”, said Gerry Raleigh, director of the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention.
Suicide prevention services were best delivered in the community in a “consistent co-ordinated fashion”, he said.
Last week the office published a report showing 495 people took their own lives in 2010 - 82 per cent were men.
Over 40 per cent were men under 40 years while there were 12,000 incidents of self-harm recorded in hospital emergency departments.
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