As economic hardship grips Ireland and many other EU nations, the rates of suicide are increasing at an alarming rate. In Ireland alone, the rate of suicide by people under the age of 17 has increased 16 percent over a twenty year period.
Journal.ie reports on studies regarding suicide rates in Ireland. A joint study carried out by UCD and St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin found an increase in suicide rates, primarily between those aged 15 - 17, when comparing the periods 1993-98 to 2003-08.
These Irish findings of an increase in suicide linked to economic downturn coincide with a British study which also determined that an economic downturn in the UK could incite a heightened rate of suicide.
Similarly, in others parts of the economically struggling EU, suicide rates are on the rise. Coined as “economic suicide” by some Europeans, Ariana Eunjung Cha of the Washington Post discusses the mental illness that can stem from a struggling economy.
Cha goes on to report that in a study, published by medical journal Lancet, which examined 10 countries experiencing economic downturn, it was determined that the countries “facing the most severe financial reversals of fortune,” saw a greater rise in suicides. The collapse of Ireland’s beloved Celtic Tiger, thus, had a hand in the higher rate of suicides.
With the rise of suicide in Ireland, many are looking to help alleviate the stigma attached to ending one’s life. Cha reports that in Ireland, mobile phone company Vodafone willingly gave up stadium advertising space it bought at soccer and hurling games for a suicide prevention campaign.
Further linking suicide and economic hardship, The Journal reports that a separate Irish study which focused on 190 deaths in Cork was conducted by the National Suicide Research Foundation. Of the 190 suicides, one third of the victims had worked in construction or related business in Ireland, markets that “bore the brunt” of downturn and unemployment.
Dan Neville of the Irish Association of Suicidology said that he feared the issue would be “further exacerbated by the downturn” in the Irish economy.
Last month, Neville brought attention to the Irish stigma against suicide that exists currently. In a letter to The Journal, he wrote that Ireland must “change our attitude to suicide. Mental illness is like any other illness. Professional help must be sought at an early stage and the State must provide the services required to help those with this illness to recover.”
The Journal published these resources for those looking for help regarding mental health and suicide in Ireland:
Samaritans 1850 60 90 900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634
Console 1800 201 890
Aware 1890 303 302
Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email email@example.com