Ireland’s eye: Happenings around the Auld Sod
This week's stories from around the counties: Violence among women up in recession, government helps teenagers deal with depression, but teenage drinking on the rise, and Sligo hoteliers need help as tourist numbers down...
"Internet and texting, that is the dialogue of the depressed. People get addicted and then don't get out and meet people, and then we end up with young people with depression who take their own lives,” he said.
Young says that he is one of many people who have from time to time suffered from depression and has no problems talking about it. He organized a pilgrimage to Lourdes for people who are or have suffered from the illness.
"I have no problem in saying I suffered from depression. I got medical help. But I am not alone and I want to say it is wrong for some people to say, oh, he is not the full shilling when talking about people with depression.
"I am not a depressed person, but I do suffer from depression and when I do get help and support from my doctor and friends," he says.
Teenage Drinking Escalates
When a 14-year-old girl told HURT coordinator Sadie O'Reilly that of her 25 classmates only five didn't drink and were considered to be "freaks" by their classmates, she saw first hand the stark reality of Derry's drinking culture.
O’Reilly said there seemed to be an attitude in the city, and especially among young people, that drinking won't do any real harm.
"The young girl, who had visited HURT with a friend, told me she didn't do drugs. She only ‘drank and smoked,’” O’Reilly said.
"What a lot of young people don't realize is that there are probably seven to eight times more alcohol related deaths and illnesses in this city than anything related to drug use.
"We have reached a stage with our young people where drinking is an accepted pastime. I was told that young people of 14 and 15 feel there is a lack of other things for them to do. Youth clubs can feel too childish to them, and so many turn to socializing with drink.
"The 14-year-old I spoke to said those of her age who didn't drink were considered abnormal."
O'Reilly said that what many young people didn't understand was that their bodies were not physically mature enough to deal with drinking on a regular basis, and there was a very real chance that they were doing lasting damage to themselves.
"A teenage body is not equipped to cope with large quantities of alcohol. The young girl I spoke with said the worst she ever suffered was a hangover, but that is just a sign that something else in going on in your body. You will not be aware that your liver, kidneys may have suffered lasting damage."
While HURT was set up initially to help people with drug problems, the group helps a significant amount of people who abuse both alcohol and drugs, or simply alcohol.
"We're very aware of the issues surrounding alcohol abuse in Derry. What we are really looking into at the moment is a new concept -- that of hidden harm.
"A recent report has suggested that as many as one in 11 children in the U.K. are brought up in a household where there is hidden harm -- that is their primary carer is using a significant amount of substances, be it alcohol or drugs.
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