There is stigma surrounding issues of mental health and depression, but despite what the silence may make you think, 1 in 5 people in Ireland will suffer from depression at some point in their lives. At the moment, Ireland ranks fourth in the world for suicide rates among young people between 18-24.
Other statistics are just as harrowing —
- In 2012, 9,500 people were treated in hospital after trying to take their own lives.
- A&E reported 12,010 self harm incidents with many repeat victims.
- 80% of attempted suicides are women.
- 507 died by suicide in 2011, which is down from 525 in 2004, however it is belived that this number is much higher as there were 696 undertermined deaths between 2004 and 2010.
Earlier in the month, Console Ireland ran a conference to educate on the rising problem of suicide in Ireland, and underscored the sad fact that all too often it is social isolation and the stigma attached to mental health issues that prevent people from seeking help. In attendance was President Michael D Higgins, who highlighted the current climate as being a problem for many people in Ireland. People are under greater distress and are more at risk of suicide because of “new insecurities” in employment, he said. There was a need for an multi-disciplinary approach “to look and respect complexity that the suicide rate represents”.
It’s not shocking to think that the rate of suicide and self-harm increases during economic and social downturns. Feelings of helplessness and fear are natural reactions to times of uncertainty, but when this continues for a sustained period, it’s important to find a way to talk about and deal with these feelings. Once someone starts talking and exploring their feelings and worst fears, they have a greater chance of discovering options other than suicide. But it can be very hard to deal with that sense of crushing overwhelm when you’re working with it alone.
One strong tool in the arsenal against suicide is the ASSIST (Applied suicide intervention skills training) training program of suicide first aid. Since 2005, the survival rate for heart attack victims has gone from 1% to 6.5% as a direct result of a national drive to provide First Aid, defibrillator and CPR training throughout the country. Given the frightening stats we are seeing right now around suicide, we need to have a push to train our communities in suicide intervention. ASSIST Training is available through the National Office for Suicide Prevention. http://www.nosp.ie/
Closer to home, though, Roscommon Women’s Network is a holistic support network and a real resource for people in need. We’re a drop-in centre, focused around self-referral and a genuine support for anyone who comes through our doors. Forming strong social supports can be a real preventative measure in times of need, and it’s so much a part of the work we do here. Our qualitative research reflects the efficacy of the supports we provide — whether in the sense of providing a base for preventing worsening depression or supporting women and their families struggling with mental health issues.
Whether you refer yourself to us, or you are referred by your doctor, RWN is a safe-space that will hold you and support you through whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. There’s long-term service-users who have been through many of our programs and plenty of one-off situations that we can be a helping-hand through. On a practical level, we have a variety of resources available. Our low-income counselling is available for anyone in need. The GROW group (http://grow.ie/) meets here on Thursdays at 2pm. We maintain a drop-in centre and there’s access to training resources, and other empowerment programs to help people feel like their taking positive steps to control their own lives.
Give us a call at 094 9621690; take that first step. Don’t leave it until it’s too late.
Other national resources include–