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800 calls spark suicide concern

Desperate
Console, the suicide prevention service, are fielding a ‘concerning’ level of calls.

SUICIDE prevention services are receiving an increasing number of calls from young Irish men living in Britain who are distressed and vulnerable, The Irish Post can reveal.

The Console organisation has confirmed they are fielding a ‘concerning’ level of calls from vulnerable Irish men in London, where their newly-established support centre is taking an average of 800 calls a week.

“Emigrants are vulnerable and statistically the 15-24 age group is the most vulnerable,” said CEO Paul Kelly.

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“It’s very sad when we get calls from London, from people who left financial distress in Ireland in the hope they could build a better life. They are not coping well.”

Console, which supports people in suicidal crisis and those bereaved through suicide through professional counselling, has found Irish emigrants living in the city who are lonely, depressed and feel unable to cope among its most frequent callers.

Mr Kelly added that a number of the early-morning calls they receive are from people “with drink on them.”

“They find comfort in alcohol but it only leads to deeper depression,” he explained. “People feel isolated; they have been uprooted from their homes and their families, they are disenfranchised and feel alone even though they are living in a big city”.

Mr Kelly, who founded Console in 2002, said the increased volume of calls from overseas is a concern, but hopes that, being an Irish-run organisation, the charity will be able to build trust in the service among Irish emigrants in need of support in Britain.

“We are taking a lot of calls,” he admits. “I’d say we are averaging about 800 calls a week in London and in Dublin we are taking about 3000 calls a week.”

He added: “It’s very sad when we get those calls from people saying they have had to leave their family and friends in Ireland. There is fear and a sense of failure — they are not coping well. These are the type of calls we are getting from young Irish men in Britain.

“We know they are vulnerable and we are here to help and support them. Our message is you don’t need to suffer alone — they must make contact with the right services, especially if they are suicidal and in the process of taking their own lives. We will get  emergency services to them as quickly as possible”.

Hundreds of people take their lives in Ireland each year, Mr Kelly explained, while 12,000 people are known to have presented to professional services across the country with issues related to suicide and self-harm in 2012 alone.

“So many young people see it as a solution to the problem,” the charity founder added. “But suicide is never a solution and people need to know there is help and support for people to turn to in a crisis.”

The number of suicides registered in Ireland in 2011 — the most recent figures available from the Central Statistics Office — rose to 525, an increase of seven per cent on the previous year.

A total of 439 men and 86 women were recorded as having taken their own lives, the majority of whom were aged 15-44. Leading suicide prevention services believe Ireland’s true figure would be closer to 600 when “undetermined” deaths were taken into account.

In January, the Office for National Statistics reported a ‘significant’ rise in the overall suicide rate in Britain in particular among men aged between 45 and 59, which is at its highest rate since 1986. The British suicide rate is now 11.8 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 11.1 in 2010 and the highest since 2004.

Male suicide is currently at its highest rate for nearly a decade. Console is a national suicide charity based in Ireland. It offers a 24-hour helpline and an option to log on to their website and leave a message which will be responded to by a professional councillor.

For further information or to contact Console call 020 7630 0824 or email info@consolecouncilling.co.uk

Contact Icap (Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy) at:

London Therapy Centre
0207 272 7906
info@icap.org.uk

West Midlands Therapy Centre
0121 666 7707
info@icapbirmingham.org.uk

www.icap.org.uk

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Robert Mulhern
ABOUT 

Robert is a freelance news and sports journalist. He is also the author of A Very Different County and creator/producer of Sex, Flights and Videotapes for RTE's Doc on One. Follow him @MulhernRobert on Twitter

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