The representative body for psychologists has said there needs to be a greater focus on measures which could help to prevent Ireland’s high rates of youth suicide.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and the Psychological Society of Ireland said the country needs to focus on the range of methods and therapies which help people who are experiencing behavioural, psychological and emotional issues.

It said preventative measures for teenagers and adolescents were particularly important as Ireland has the fourth highest rate of suicide in the EU. Only Lithuania, Estonia and Finland had higher rates of teenagers taking their own lives.

The World Health Organisation asserted suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds globally.

Terri Morrissey, chief executive of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), representing approximately 3,000 psychologists, said depression and suicidal thoughts among teenagers was a major health problem in Ireland but, through early intervention and the promotion of well-being and resilience, it was possible to prevent such issues.

“Far too often we hear about such issues when it is already too late and we have to deal with the consequences and aftermath. Intervening at an early stage would have been effective,” Ms Morrissey said.

“There is a range of methods and therapies that have been demonstrated to have been effective and which can be used to prevent behavioural, psychological and emotional problems.”

She said techniques should begin at an early age.

“Well-being and resilience can be promoted through sport, exercise, healthy eating, parental support and other forms of physical, emotional and mental development.”

The first World Suicide Prevention Day was held in 2003 and was an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Since then, World Suicide Prevention Day has taken place on September 10 yearly.

It is estimated 800,000 people die by suicide each year around the world — one person every 40 seconds. Up to 25 times the number make a suicide attempt.

Clinical psychologist Dr Gary Diamond, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, will give a public talk on the subject on behalf of the PSI on September 22 at Chartered Accountants Ireland, Pearse Street, Dublin at 6.30pm.

His talk will focus on outlining the ways in which parents can work to reduce some of the risk factors associated with adolescent depression and suicidal thoughts among teenagers.


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