Ireland's property collapse has led to 29 definite suicides so far, with many more unreported and a flood of calls to suicide hotlines.

David Mellon of the Irish Property Council told the Sunday Independent that the toll of human misery will rise.

"We are talking about people who invested in property, people who earned their livelihood from it in many forms; builders, plasterers, plumbers, developers and large and small investors.

"They are now facing financial disaster, bankruptcy and destitution.there are teachers, police,  lawyers all caught in the crossfire. They are in a suffocating despair.

"I was talking to one family who lost a husband and a brother, and they have been simply torn apart. It's hard for people to talk about, to go public about what has happened. They want to protect their children and some are simply too shocked. They haven't come to terms with it."

Property developer and anti-suicide campaigner Noel Smyth revealed that a 24-hour helpline is now receiving between 2,500 and 3,000 calls a month -- many of them from people being ruthlessly pursued for money.

"They would be classified as high-risk calls, in other words, someone who already has a suicide ideation or may have actually planned a suicide.

"Definitely the age profile of people with suicidal thoughts is changing and that is a reflection of financial worries. Many are in difficulties with property, with bank loans," he said.

RESPOND, the housing agency, say they  have received calls from many in distress.

Aoife Walsh of RESPOND said "There is a crisis out there which is taking a human toll.

"I have been receiving calls from  people in difficulty who are at the end of their tether fearing their home will be repossessed. They are displaying worrying depressive tendencies. Their mental health is being put under pressure and there are immense pressures on families.

"It is having an impact on marriages which is not being taken into account. The social implications are enormous. The screw is being turned on marriages and the family unit and that is going to have far reaching consequences for Irish society for years to come," Walsh said.

Noel Smyth says banks have an uncaring attitude.

"Unfortunately the people who are putting them under pressure, whether it is the banks or whatever, have no understanding, no training. When they come across an uptight client they treat them as a normal tough guy or woman -- and as a result of all that, they are unaware that they are potentially driving someone over the top," he advised.

"People caught up in this are nearly afraid to be seen complaining or to actually voice that they are in a lot of trouble.

"They fear that they are going to be told that 'It's your own fault. you were greedy, you were grabby' and that means there is no support for people out there.

"This Government is treating suicide like they treat the poor. Their view is that 'the problem will always be there so therefore we can ignore it,'" Smyth added.