Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Prosperity brings 400 per cent increase in young male suicides

Ireland's prosperity has brought a rise in youth suicide, especially among adolescent males, according to an Irish Times (premium content) story by Olivia Kelly."

Since 1990 there has been a 400 per cent increase in the number of suicides among young males between the ages of 15 and 24. This has happened at a time of significant social and cultural change and there is a significant relationship between the two factors," Dr Caroline Smyth of RehabCare told a National Children's Office conference. "Celtic Tiger Ireland" had failed to replace the "traditional Irish values" from which it was moving away, she said. "We have seen a move towards a more liberal, consumer based society. People are defined not by who they are but by what they own."

"There are very few role models left. There used to be the church or the guards . . . I'm not proposing returning to that era, but their loss has created a vacuum that needs to be filled.

"Teenage boys and young men seemed to feel the cultural loss more than girls, she said, according to the Irish Times report. In 2003, 444 Irish people died by suicide, of which 358 were male. Some 92 of those males were between the ages of 15 and 24."It's harder than ever before to be a young man in Ireland. The 'ladette' culture has meant that more young women are adopting traditional male roles and young men are experiencing an inability to deal with this cultural change."Young men also cite "helplessness" more often than young women as a factor that makes suicide an "understandable" option, the report says. Traditional research into the subject has failed to take into account the contextual issues of Irish society and treatment has been focused almost exclusively on medication, rather than the provision of support services.

"We need to put suicide prevention programmes into schools and the community not only to target high risk groups but all young people."

No comments: