By Laurence Ticehurst.
For those of us the in South East of Ireland the recently released suicide statistics for the year 2013 made troubling reading. Counties Carlow and Wexford were among those with the most alarming figures. While the national figures are a bit better, far too many people, 83% of which are men, are taking their own lives- especially in rural areas.
Why is this? The decline of religious belief and practice is a factor, as is isolation. Loneliness is a plague in the Irish countryside “I have only the cat to talk to” said a neighbour of mine as he stopped me on the road. Financial and particularly farming difficulties can be harsh. Apparently the recent lack of fodder for cattle led to an increase in calls to Consoles suicide help line. This does not surprise me, as some years ago I was approached by an elderly farmer desperate for grazing in supermarket car park. Alas I had none to give him. But it is no wonder that suicides have increased among the middle aged and isolated.
Nevertheless suicide in Ireland- as elsewhere- is essentially a problem among young men. Despite the recent improvement what more can be done? Perhaps part of the answer is to be found in a simple deduction from the figures. If suicide is disproportionately high among young men then it must be disproportionately low among women. Might not part of the solution be to provide them- the women of Ireland- with more training and additional support so that they can recognise the danger signs and thus do even more to prevent their chilldren, their brothers, and their friends, from taking the most fatal and terrible step of all?
We have added the suicide prevention charity Console to our list of links.
The Console help line number is: 1800 247 247