Published: Fri, 09 May 2014
A special emphasis on the effects of cyberbullying and bullying should be central to guidelines for helping youth under the government’s new National Framework for Suicide Prevention, according to Sean Kelly MEP.
The MEP, who has led an awareness-raising campaign against cyberbullying across Ireland South and at EU level, says the online form of bullying has a very traumatic effect on young people and causes mental distress.
“Given that some very tragic teen deaths by suicide have been linked to cyberbullying, it is important that we empower our young people to be responsible online and encourage them to seek help if they experience bullying online or offline,” the South MEP said.
“I am asking the Minister of State for Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch, to keep this in mind as her department develops the new National Framework for Suicide Prevention, for which they are currently seeking public submissions on.”
2011 CSO figures state that 554 deaths by suicide occurred inIrelandin 2011, 458 were men and 96 women, equating to almost 10 deaths a week. While suicide can touch any section of society, high risk groups inIrelandinclude men aged 20-29 years-old and 40-49 years-old, and women aged 50-59 years-old.
Mr Kelly, MEP of the Year for the Digital Agenda, added: “From hosting several forums on cyberbullying across my constituency in the last 12 months attended by local secondary school students, I know it is an issue of serious concern amongst parents, teachers and young people themselves.”
“Minister Lynch has shown great dedication to the issue of mental health and suicide prevention and I want to welcome her decision to seek submissions from members of the public on the new framework.”
The National Office for Suicide (NOSP) has a budget of €8.8 million for 2014, an 8 per cent increase on the budget for suicide prevention last year which will be used to further promote positive mental health inIrelandand the services available to anyone who may be experiencing distress.