Ireland’s Catholic bishops have called for increased awareness of suicide and made an action call to the government.

The bishops have addressed the issue in a statement ahead of Sunday’s Day for Life services at churches across the country.

The Irish Times reports that the bishops have expressed their ‘grave concern’ at the increased incidence of suicide, especially among younger men.

The report says that in the statement they appealed to ‘all those who may find themselves with suicidal thoughts to seek help and support ‘.

The statement added: “We appeal to you to choose life, not death.

“We ask people not to be deceived by the lie that taking one’s own life, in any circumstances, is a helpful . . . solution to any problem.”

The bishops also highlight that: “Often, when someone dies by suicide, the difficulties for those left behind are simply multiplied many times over.”

The statement also draws attention to ‘recent disturbing reports’ of poor care for the elderly and the infirm.

They say this has its roots in an attitude, which was described by Pope Francis as effectively saying, ‘this elderly man, this elderly woman, is useless; discard them, like we hang up the raincoat in the summer’.