Irish male suicide increase due to collapse in economy and unemploymentGoogle Images

Ordinarily Ireland has a high rate of suicide among its youth, but due to the economic crisis, debt, unemployment and national despair Ireland is seeing a larger number of middle-aged men killing themselves.

In 2009, 500 suicides were recorded in Ireland, a 24 percent increase from 2008, and many suspect that the real figures are much higher. Charities and organizations working to combat suicide have no doubt that the economic meltdown of the country has lead to the increase in these numbers.

Geoff Day of the National Office for Suicide Prevention spoke to Reuters. He said, "The deaths are consistent with our assumption that a lot of the increase is due to the economic recession.  These are men who would have been in work but now find themselves either unemployed or facing financial problems."

Many of the men who have killed themselves were those who were successful during the Celtic Tiger era.
Suicide in Ireland was illegal until 1993. Currently if these deaths are recorded in the newspapers they are often referred to as "tragic,” to be interpreted to mean suicide.

John Connolly, founder of the Irish Association of Suicidology and a psychologist, said there is still a sense of shame about suicide in Ireland, but iin a more secular Ireland this should no longer be the case.

Connolly said, "As far as the church is concerned, suicide is still a sin but of course pastoral practice has changed enormously…People aren't afraid to go to the funerals of suicides. The homilies now reflect the proper way of dealing with it.

"In the past, a lot of people would have been slow to go to their spiritual adviser in case they were told that their loved one had gone to hell. That's not the case any more."

John Quinn, a taxi driver in Dublin, discovered his 17-year-old son hanging from a noose in his family home. Six years on he is able to return to work, socialize and live a normal existence. He now works helping others who are feeling suicidal and desperate.

He said, "It helps me.  If you can stop one family or one person from going through the absolute sh**e that we've gone through, it makes it worthwhile.

"But this time next week there will be 10 people who have died from suicide in Ireland. And with this recession you can only imagine that it's going to get higher and higher."

Those who deal with suicide in their lives go through a range of emotions, from anger, to guilt, shame and confusion.

Quinn said, "I found him hanging from the attic door…I still don't know why…I didn't go back to work for seven weeks and on my first job back, I was halfway to Dublin Airport before I realized that I'd forgotten to pick up the passenger.

"After a while you stop asking the question why but you don't get over it. And the sight. That will never leave me. Never."