Society’s attitude to mental illness must change, says Limerick TD

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

DISCUSSIONS are underway to erect partitions near bridges and other locations around the country where suicides have taken place.

DISCUSSIONS are underway to erect partitions near bridges and other locations around the country where suicides have taken place.

The National Suicide Research Foundation and other groups have begun talks about limiting access to locations, including those around the River Shannon, where suicides are known to have taken place.

Fine Gael Limerick TD and President of the Irish Association of Suicidology, Dan Neville, said he’s in favour of the proposal, which is proven to reduce suicides according to international research.

“Statistically this does save lives,” he told the Limerick Chronicle, pointing to the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, where suicide prevention measures have been introduced. It has also been suggested that signage should be erected at these areas, with information directing people to contact the Samaritans and other bodies.

Deputy Neville pointed out that some 25% of those who take their lives are in contact with gardai prior to their death.

Speaking at St. Munchin’s Family Resource Centre in Ballynanty on Saturday last, at a conference entitled ‘A Community Response to Grief and Loss’, deputy Neville said: “Society’s attitude must change. Mental illness is like any other illness. Professional help must be sought at an early stage and the State must provide the services required to help those with this illness to recover.”

“People often say when someone dies of cancer or heart disease that they really wanted to live, but their disease got the better of them. And yet they wrongly say that someone who commits suicide wanted to die. Nothing could be further from the truth. People who complete suicide want to live as much as anyone else, but living becomes too painful.

“Those who commit suicide do not want to die, but they just can’t bear to live in the incredible pain that their illness is causing them. Suicide is not a cop out on life. People who complete suicide have reached the end of their tolerance,” said deputy Neville.

The Samaritans can be contacted at 1850-609090.