March for suicide prevention held in Dublin

Young people call on Government to re-instate funding for mental health services

Dozens marched in Dublin this afternoon to call for increased funding for mental health services.  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Dozens marched in Dublin this afternoon to call for increased funding for mental health services. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Sat, Aug 2, 2014, 17:33

More than 40 young people joined a march in Dublin City Centre today calling for increased funding for mental health services.

One of the march organisers, Jamie Harrington (16), said he had been prompted to get involved after two of his friends died by suicide. He volunteers with TeenLine Ireland, a part-time phone service which had its funding cut earlier this year.

“This country has a huge problem with suicide and people taking their own lives unneccessarily. We’re here today to say you’re not alone,” he said.

Luke Clerkin (22) co organiser of the march said Action For Suicide Prevention Dublin will continue to hold protests against cuts to mental health services.

Both Mr Harrington and Mr Clerkin said they have battled with depression in the past but have managed to overcome it.

“We want to make sure the Government know that so many people are suffering with mental health problems and that Teenline is a vital service. Most people will have to deal with mental health issue at some stage in their life so we need to ensure that the funding for mental health services isn’t cut,” Mr Clerkin said.

Linda Arnold, a parent who had come up from Mullingar, said the Governmentis ignoring a “whole generation of young people”.

“Our President Michael Higgins is a patron of Console Ireland and I find it offensive that the adults in our Government are not taking care of our teenagers,” she said.

“All behaviour is learned and if the young people here today have to learn that walking the streets is the only way they can get funding while the Government lines the pockets of bondholders overseas, then there’s something seriously wrong.”

Helplines:

Samaritans (samaritans.org), 1850 609090

Pieta House (pieta.ie), centre for prevention of self-harm or suicide, 01- 601 0000

Console (console.ie), national suicide prevention and bereavement charity, 1800 201890

Aware (aware.ie), helping people with depression and concerned family members and friends, 1890 303302

Teenline (teenline.ie), 1800 833 634