Young must be ‘almost suicidal’ to receive help

Young people have to be “almost suicidal” to get attention from the health service for their psychiatric needs, according to the head of counselling at the University of Limerick.

Dr Declan Aherne, who is a clinical psychologist, said young people have to be “really bad” to get anyone to notice them, and in fact, they were almost “forced to become worse” in order to get the help they needed.

Dr Aherne, who has 30 years’ experience of dealing with at-risk young people, said “the thought of suicide is more on the mind of these young people than ever before,” and the numbers attending the counselling service have “almost doubled in eight years”.

Nationally, approximately 10,000 young people now attend the Irish Association of University and College Counsellors service.

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