Although massive inroads have been made in raising awareness of mental health issues, the figures for suicide and self harm show that men, in particular those aged from their early 20s to retirement age, remain the most at risk groups.
According to figures for the third quarter of 2018, released by the Central Office of Statistics, nearly 100 people lost their lives as a result of suicide between July and September 2018.
Most striking is the fact that of these, 82 were males.
The figures show that 12 males in the 15 to 24 age group took their own lives. Figures were also high in the 25-34 year age group with 15 fatalities and in the 35-44 age group with 17 deaths recorded. However, figures also showed that there were 16 deaths through suicide recorded during the third quarter for men aged 45 to 54 and a further 17 recorded for the 55-64 age group.
Figures for females deaths through suicide or self harm were significantly lower in the third quarter of 2018, but no less worrying with two deaths recorded in the 14-24 female age bracket, six in the 25-34 year age group and 2 in the 35-44 year age group. In the 45-54 female age group there were four deaths and one further death recorded in the 55-64 age group for females.
Next Wednesday, March 27, 2019, will see the return of Leitrims Health Is Wealth, a free seminar highlighting important issues around mental health and the benefits of volunteering.
Stage set for Leitrims Health is Wealth on March 27
As part of this year's line-up assistant national director with HSE Mental Health and the head of National Office For Suicide Prevention (NOSP), John Meehan, will be giving figures on the incidence of suicide in counties Leitrim, Donegal, Sligo, Cavan and Roscommon as well as outlining the work that the NOSP does to try and address the incidence of suicide and self harm.
Other speakers on the night include master of ceremonies well known Leitrim man, journalist and broadcaster, Paul Williams; Adi Roche from Chernobyl-Ireland who will be speaking about her years of volunteer work; Alan Quinlan, former rugby international and journalist. Alan will be talking about his own experience of depression; Kristen O’Reilly, a local girl, who was bereaved of both her parents as a teenager; Mikey Drennan, former Aston Villa, Sligo Rovers and presently St Patrick's Athletic soccer player, will discuss his experience of depression, gambling and isolation; Professor Geraldine McCarthy – consultant psychiatrist with Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services will be discussing healthy ageing and local initiatives; John Lonergan, former governor of Mountjoy Prison will be discussing his observations of human nature and of Irish society and finally, Angela Hayes, founder of the Thomas Hayes Trust whose family has been bereaved by suicide.
The event will start at 7pm on Wednesday, March 27 in the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon.
The event is totally free and has been organised by former Leitrim Guardian Person of the Year, Hubert McHugh and his HSE Mental Health Service colleague, Valerie Cogan.
This will be the third such event organised by the pair and they are keen to continue working to highlight the need for more discussion on mental health issues and to also highlight positive stories of people who have faced and succeeded in battling their own mental health problems.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by any of the issues discussed in this article, you can contact the following organisations for advice and support:
-Samaritans Free call: 116 123
-Northwest Stop: for counselling Callsave: 1850 211 877
-Aware Freephone 1800 80 48 48 (Available Monday - Sunday 10am to 10pm)