Opinion: It’s up to you to tackle youth suicide.
Ask yourself these questions.
- What has the government done in the last year to improve suicide prevention?
- What has Ireland done in the last year to tackle the high level of suicides?
- What has your county/town/community done in the last year to stop young people taking their own lives?
- What have YOU done in the last year to stop suicide?
Throughout the 2000’s, Ireland became a place where young people sat back and enjoyed the journey through life without much hardship. This has all changed in the last few years or so. Not only does today’s youth have to put up with a recession, job loss, poverty, dole queues and emigration. Young people have to still ‘find themselves.’
Over the last 5 years or so (starting from about the age of 21), I have been heavily involved with suicide prevention. I have shared my story of battling with my own demons as a young person. I have been at conferences, talks, schools, colleges etc. I have talked to hundreds and thousands of people about why it’s important to talk about your problems, to speak out and to have some courage to change your life. I have watched as people connect with me, cry with me, laugh with me but yet in 2010 suicides in Ireland are increasing faster then ever before. The latest official figures show a 24% increase in suicides in with 527 people taking their own lives in 2008. Last year suicide prevention funding was cut by 12.5% with another 6.5% this year. Suicide prevention receives roughly €5 million a year while road safety receives €40 million, yet more people die by suicide then on our roads.
Many of you will be disgusted with these figures and say that the government should do more. While I agree with this statement I also say you need to be realistic. The current government has failed this country miserably in more ways than suicide prevention. To expect them to be capable of tackling suicide prevention is unrealistic. Politicians are more worried about saving their jobs then saving lives.
It’s up to you to tackle youth suicide. You need to realise that only by coming together as a collective group will change happen. You need to step up in your community, take a lead and say enough is enough. Suicide is not a national problem, it’s a community problem. Who knows more about your community than you?
It’s time for you to get out there, make your voice heard, get involved in local suicide prevention charities and make a real difference.
Recently a friend of mine was going through some troubles. He came close to taking his own life. Just being there and listening to him was enough to save his life. Make your friends listen, make your community listen, make politicians listen and let’s eradicate suicide in Ireland forever.
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