Policy Briefing 1: Responding To Youth Suicide and Attempted Youth Suicide in Ireland

Kenny, B. (1999). Policy Briefing 1: Responding To Youth Suicide and Attempted Youth Suicide in Ireland. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/850
Facing the tragic reality of a suicide is enormously difficult and stressful for families, communities and, indeed, society as a whole. A suicide, which is often committed by someone with a family and friends who care, can evoke not only the normal emotions associated with bereavement, but also feelings of anger, confusion and the unanswerable question, why? In the case of a youth suicide the stresses it places on family, friends and communities can be multiplied. Young suicides provoke many questions — Why would a teenage boy want to take his own life? How could he be allowed take this ultimate step without anyone being able to help? — but few easy answers. Through S6lds, its bereavement counselling service for children, Barnardos has come into contact with youth suicides and its impact on families. While in statistical terms the problem is not large it is an important issue of social concern. Youth suicide is a growing reality in Ireland as is attempted suicide. While it is difficult for society to acknowledge, never mind respond to this problem, that is exactly what must happen. This paper has been prepared to share information about the nature of the problem in Ireland, to examine factors and ‘causes’ associated with youth suicide and attempted suicide and to suggest appropriate responses. There is a clear need to plan appropriate services and interventions and Barnardos hopes that this paper will contribute to what should be a rapidly developing debate.