Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Parents must be vigilant over pro suicide websites

Fine Gael Deputy Health Spokesman & President of the Irish Association of Suicidology Dan Neville TD has urged parents to be vigilant about their children's use of the internet in light of the growing risk posed by pro-suicide websites. The issue is being discussed at the Association's conference in Co. Kerry.

"A growing number of young people are logging on to websites that provide advice on taking their own life. This poses an enormous risk for vulnerable young people, particularly if they come into online contact with people who are considering ending their own lives.
"It is vital that parents are vigilant about their children's use of the internet. The risk posed by online paedophiles and pro-anorexia websites has already been highlighted in the media, but pro-suicide websites pose an equally serious risk for young people.
"The risk to young people in Ireland is proportionally greater than that in many other EU countries given this country's fluency in the English language, because the majority of pro-suicide websites are based in North America.
"Given the ever increasing use of the internet by young people, it is vital that sufficient online resources are available to address their particular concerns and crises, including advice on how to deal with difficult life experiences. In particular, it is crucial that online advice is available on how young people should seek out others in whom they have confidence if they feel depressed and out of sorts. I welcome efforts made by the Samaritans, Bebo and other organisations in this regard."

According to Dan Neville the suicide statistics in Ireland are now of epidemic proportions. In 2003 official figures show that 444 people took their own lives. In the same year there were 52 undetermined deaths. It is conservatively estimated that in excess of 60,000 people attempt to take their lives annually. This is five times the estimated number of people injured in road crashes annually. Suicide, however, has not warranted a similar national media campaign.

Dan Neville provides a wealth of information at Suicide information
Over the last 10 years some interesting trends have emerged in suicide rates

13% increase in Republic of Ireland
11% decrease in England
15% decrease in Wales
No change in Northern Ireland
1% increase in Scotland

To contact the Samaritans:

In the UK dial 08457 90 90 90, for the cost of a local call. In the Republic of Ireland dial 1850 60 90 90, for the cost of a local call.

In the USA Call A Suicide Hotline

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