One cut we simply can’t afford

THE funding cuts of 12.5% for the National Office of Suicide Prevention (NOSP), as you reported on March 12, underlines the lack of proactive thinking on the issue.

It is well publicised that more people die in this State every year by suicide than are killed on the roads.

The prevention of both is something that any civilised society should strive towards.

However, unlike the issue of road deaths, we do not see high-profile campaigns designed to create awareness of suicide prevention, with prominent public figures, in the same way as we do with road accidents.

One of the few avenues we have to promote a coherent suicide prevention strategy is the NOSP, but now it has been hit severely by funding cuts. Everyone would acknowledge that under our current economic circumstances, cuts will be par for the course.

However, surely it is incumbent on the Government to ensure that insofar as possible, it avoids excessive spending cuts in areas where to do so could conceivably have a negative impact on public health.

Unfortunately, suicide still appears to be the “elephant in the room” that no one wants to acknowledge. Yet for the family and friends of those who die by suicide every year, and the countless thousands of others who attempt it each year, the issue is a very real one.

Why does it always fall to one TD, Dan Neville, who has a professional interest in the subject, to advocate a coherent approach on this issue?

Suicide has been one of the major social problems facing this State (and indeed the country as a whole) in our recent history. We should demand our political leaders give suicide prevention the attention it deserves.

Unfortunately, the tragic reality is that there will always be some cases of suicide in Ireland or any other society, but the powers-that-be owe it to all those affected, and indeed to society as a whole, to ensure everything within the professional and financial resources available is done to help reduce this figure significantly. How this is going to be achieved by such massive funding cuts for one of the few bodies we have to help coordinate a prevention strategy is beyond me.

Donal O’Driscoll

Casement Street

Clonakilty

Co Cork

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