Report highlights rising rates of suicide among young males

Picture posed by model

The rate of suicide among young people in Ireland is one of the highest in Europe, figures show.

An estimated 165 teens and young men took their own lives in the Republic of Ireland in 2011, while another 72 died by suicide in the North.

The cross-border Men's Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) said the high numbers in both jurisdictions coincide with the economic downturn and increasing levels of unemployment.

It called for targeted measures aimed at reducing the rate of self harm and suicide in the under-30s, which is fourth highest in the EU at 16 per 100,000.

Dr Noel Richardson, author of its report Young Men and Suicide Project, said there can be no quick-fix solutions to tackling the very grave statistics.

“But neither is there any place for inertia or ambivalence,” he said.

“There is both a public health and a moral requirement to act.

“There needs to be a concerted effort to engage more effectively, and in a more sustained way, with young men, and to plan services and programmes with young men in mind.

“This report provides a blueprint and a roadmap for action.”

The study found Ireland’s overall suicide rate was average in Europe, but when data focused on young men it lagged only behind the Ukraine, Finland and Lithuania.

It revealed that over the past 10 years men have been five times more likely to take their own lives than women.

And although rates of attempted suicide and deliberate self harm were traditionally higher among women, it is now more common among men.

Academics said the factors most consistently associated with the rise in young male suicide are social inequalities (including unemployment and deprivation) family relationship difficulties, peer relationship problems, school failure, low self esteem and violence.

The report – jointly funded by the Public Health Agency in the North and the National Office for Suicide Prevention in the Republic of Ireland – will be launched by health chiefs in Dublin and Belfast today.

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