Belfast Telegraph

Suicide link to unemployment probed

The link between unemployment and suicide will be highlighted at a major conference in Dublin mark to World Suicide Prevention Day.

More than 500 delegates from around the world are set to attend the event in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, on Friday September 10.

Paul Kelly of Console, the support group organising the conference, warned a number of studies have shown a clear link between unemployment and suicide rates, especially among males.

"All studies show higher rates of ill health, both psychological and physical, in men and women who are insecure in work or are unemployed," he said. "A protracted period of unemployment seems to have a particularly deleterious effect on the mental health of young men, regardless of their social background."

Health Minister Mary Harney will open the conference entitled Suicide in a Changing Ireland - Let's Talk About It. It will feature presentations from experts from across the world examining the latest developments in the field.

The high rates of self-harm in children and teenagers will be one of the major focuses of the conference after study by the National Suicide Research Foundation revealed 9.1% of young people aged between 14 and 16 had self-harmed at some point, half of them had done so more than once.

Prof Fiona McNicholas, of the Lucena Clinic, Rathgar, will highlight how youth suicide is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, including Ireland.

Other speakers include Dr John R Jordan, a licensed psychologist in private practice in the US, who specialises in loss and bereavement.

The event is followed by the 3Ts' (Turning The Tide) annual Candelight Vigil at the Bank of Ireland in College Green, from 8pm to 9pm, for all who have lost family, colleagues and friends through suicide.

Console has also organised a 5km Memorial Walk on Sunday September 5 for people who wish to remember their loved ones lost through suicide.

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