In my recent episode with filmmaker Frank Berry he mentioned two articles that had inspired him to explore the phenomenon of suicide clusters in Irish society. Both articles were written in the Irish times in 2011 by Tony Bates of Headstrong, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health.
In the first article “We must give young people a reason to live“, Bates describes some of the factors present in areas where suicide contagion is taking place. The starting point for these suicides is frighteningly familiar and ubiquitous to teenagers. Bates says: “Many feel adrift and see nothing that makes them believe things can change.”
In the second article “Breaking the ripple effects of suicide” Bates goes on to describe the ways different countries deal with the emergence of a suicide cluster.
“As communities we need to find ways to engage our young people before whatever difficulty they face becomes a suicidal crisis. We need to give them the supports and skills they need to face their lives. But we also need to listen to young people in our communities who choose to stay alive, day after day, in spite of everything that is wrong in their lives.”
Suicide is a bigger problem in Irish society than many of us care to acknowledge. Reading the Tony Bates articles and looking at the Irish statistics is an unsettling experience but, as Frank’s film beautifully demonstrates, we should stare the reality of suicide among our young people in the face so they can at least see that we care. DaveFollow @InspirePod