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Thread: Suicide, a political issue

  1. #1
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    Default Suicide, a political issue

    In the main suicide is a political issue that has stayed underneath most radar screens for a long time. The stigma associated with it has contributed greatly to the minimising of this silent tragedy in the public consciousness. The problem being that when the subject does become an urgent issue, when a person talks about suicidal feelings/intent, the person themselves may not know what to do and those around her/him may not know what to do. Ignorance breeds stigma, stigma and prejudice ensures ignorance.

    Last year 444 people committed suicide, that's more than died on the roads last year, a third more. The CSO has 39 murders for last year, can you imagine the outcry if another zero was added onto that figure and instead of dozens of murders there were hundreds what the reaction would be? There's a strong sense of purpose to the campaign to prevent accidents and in particular road deaths. When the figures go up hard questions are asked and the effort is made to get the public to slow down, not drink and drive and obey the rules of the road. Inevitably there will be some accidents and some fatalities and it's very likely the same for suicides, some just won't be preventable. But it doesn't stop the safety drive for cars so why should it stop suicide prevention efforts.

    Suicide and mental health difficulties aren't the preserve of any one sector of society and it is tragic to hear the questions as to why? after a person has committed suicide. Maybe if we asked that question and try to answer it now, not so many people will end up asking that question having lost someone close to suicide. Things have gotten worse in recent years and our response as a society has been poor with the exceptions of some shining lights. Some are willing to face up to the issue of suicide and the poor shape of the mental health services and great respect is due to them. And if modern Ireland is to build a real quality of life, this is an area where a massive change in urgency is needed.

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    Default Suicide, a political issue

    a massive change in urgency is needed.
    What exactly can be done to begin to chip away at the suicide rate? I've heard numerous posters suggest an increase in funding, but I'd like to know what specifically they think that money would be invested in?

    Should we hire more counsellors in schools and universitys, to allow greater access to them? launch advertising/awareness programmes aimed at those currently nearing suicidal states of mind to inform them where they can turn to for support, and also at their friends, colleagues and loved ones to inform them of warning signs to look out for, and ways they can help the individual in difficulty? Do we need to increase funding for follow-up programmes in hospitals for those who attempt suicide or seek treatment after self-harm?

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    Default Suicide, a political issue

    "In the main suicide is a political issue"

    But is it really ? The causes of suicide may be a political issue,but suicide itsself cant be , unless of course there's a political solution to suicide. I have to agree with the realism of badinage on this, Saying "We must do somthing " without naming the "something" isn't saying much at all.

    Write to your FF TD, I'm sure he'll agreee that the gov. should "have a look at it".

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    Default Suicide, a political issue

    What exactly can be done to begin to chip away at the suicide rate? I've heard numerous posters suggest an increase in funding, but I'd like to know what specifically they think that money would be invested in?
    if you looked at the posts you'd have seen the numerous suggestions that went with them, i've been criticised before for repeating myself ad nauseum so i decided to stick to a certain political angle today. I think you have come up with some of the good things to be done yourself above.
    "In the main suicide is a political issue" that has stayed underneath most radar screens for a long time.
    you're quoting it out of context, implying a change in the meaning.
    The causes of suicide may be a political issue,but suicide itsself cant be , unless of course there's a political solution to suicide.
    Politics is a lot about resource allocation but also about leadership, there has always been a political element to health issues, not so much mental health. you'll hear a lot of talk coming up to and during an election campaign that health is a key issue if not the issue that people will be voting on. Of course there is a social and medical side to suicide, for the purposes of this thread it's the political side i was focussing on.
    I have to agree with the realism of badinage on this, Saying "We must do somthing " without naming the "something" isn't saying much at all.
    badinage mentioned things in the form of questions that could be done, do you agree with the realism of doing those things also?

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    Default Suicide, a political issue

    In the main suicide is a political issue that has stayed underneath most radar screens for a long time. The stigma associated with it has contributed greatly to the minimising of this silent tragedy in the public consciousness.
    I would not agree that it is the 'stigma' associated with suicide that is responsible for its lower political importance. Mental health is not widely seen as an urgent political issue, in my opinion, primarily because its not as visible as other health issues.

    For example, a large chunk of the population will attend a hospital for some type of treatment or test every year, and will therefore experience first hand the inconvenience of long queues and delays. One in three individuals will contract cancer in their lifetimes, meaning that most individuals know someone who is fighting cancer, and it is thus an issue of immediate importance to them. Lung cancer and smoking-related illnesses, for example, are also highly visible because smoking itself is a visible, tangible thing we visually see and smell every day.

    Politically, suicide falls in between the widely-experienced problem of hospital waiting lists, and the widely-publicised issue of the murder rate. While suicide is vastly more tragic and serious issue than delays in treatment for minor medical complaints, the numbers who are effected by suicide are far lower than those affected by hospital waiting lists. On the other hand, while the suicide rate is far higher than the murder rate, it receives far less attention in the media, as suicides are not followed by police murder investigations, a trial, and the imprisonment of the murderer.

    But of course, suicide is a very major issue. Which leaves us with the question of how best to raise its political importance?

  6. #6

    Default Suicide, a political issue

    First, suicide, while being a problem, is at roughly the same rate as it always was, if not lower, as proper records are now only being held due to the fact that it was illegal years ago and the cause of death was often not put down as suicide.

    Although I really don't see what the problem of having a counciler linked to every school would be, not in the school, but a free one linked to the school...helps with the key group.

  7. #7

    Default Suicide, a political issue

    Can I add to this by complaining about the biggest load of shite I have ever seen in the SIndo over the weekend, the sugestion that the celtic tiger causes suicide...what shite!...naturally made by a bishop.....in the 1980s unemployment and poverty caused it,,,now it's the negative sides of the celtic tiger...yeah....could it not just be the same cause.....and maybe..just maybe...the fact that were not going to mass may not be the reason!

    [Edited on 27/12/2004 by ThirdWay001]

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    Default Suicide, a political issue

    I would not agree that it is the 'stigma' associated with suicide that is responsible for its lower political importance. Mental health is not widely seen as an urgent political issue, in my opinion, primarily because its not as visible as other health issues.
    'Because it's not as visible as other health issues', exactly. the stigma surrounding suicide in particular and mental health issues in general, has meant it is not talked about a lot and therefore is not as visible in politics. mental health problems themselves can often be hidden away and unlike a broken leg, are not so visible and are sometimes not seen even by close friends. What other sector of the health services would have allowed it's percentage of the total health budget to drop from 11% to 6.5% in 7 years without making a massive amount of noise?
    For example, a large chunk of the population will attend a hospital for some type of treatment or test every year, and will therefore experience first hand the inconvenience of long queues and delays.
    The numbers killed in car accidents is roughly equivalent to the numbers who die by suicide although recently suicide has become significantly higher. Comparing these two shows a big difference in political pressure and action compared to the relatively small difference in premature deaths. Extending the numbers to Depression, a major factor in a large number of suicides, there are roughly 300,000 people in any one year who suffer from depression, ad to that sufferers of bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa etc. and mental health difficulties really do affect a big number of the Irish population.
    the numbers who are effected by suicide are far lower than those affected by hospital waiting lists.
    true, but there are also attempted suicides and instances of deliberate self-harm which can be very traumatic for individuals and families to deal with as well as the substantial numbers affected by serious mental health difficulties. 11,000 cases of attempted suicide/deliberate self-harm were recorded for 2003.
    But of course, suicide is a very major issue. Which leaves us with the question of how best to raise its political importance?
    If people are educated about suicide and mental health difficulties and what is needed in effectively treating the various conditions, eventually it will become unacceptable for decision makers to minimise the priority given to the mental health sector and suicide prevention in particular.

    For years it was not talked about but there is a growing realisation that if we as a country begin to talk about suicide and more importantly listen to those who need to talk about it, maybe we aren't as powerless as we thought. And those left behind can come to terms with life after suicide with the support of their community rather than alone, from outside their community.

  9. #9
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    Default Suicide, a political issue

    First, suicide, while being a problem, is at roughly the same rate as it always was, if not lower, as proper records are now only being held due to the fact that it was illegal years ago and the cause of death was often not put down as suicide.
    Since decriminalisation in 1993 the suicide rate has increased substantially, it has stabilised at a high rate and even fallen in the last couple of years which might be what you are referring to. While decriminilisation has helped to reduce the stigma towards suicide and in how deaths are recorded, the culture of the society was never going to change overnight with the decriminalisation of suicide and the stigma towards suicide still exists and questionmarks remain about the full accuracy of reporting. There could now be a growing realisation however that suicide is a real issue of great human suffering that requires a response and not just to be swept under the carpet as was the historical norm.
    Can I add to this by complaining about the biggest load of shite I have ever seen in the SIndo over the weekend, the sugestion that the celtic tiger causes suicide...what shite!...naturally made by a bishop.....in the 1980s unemployment and poverty caused it,,,now it's the negative sides of the celtic tiger...yeah....could it not just be the same cause.....and maybe..just maybe...the fact that were not going to mass may not be the reason!
    rubbishing a point of view about the reasons for suicide might have at least some credibility if you put across an alternative point of view or reasons for attacking it, in the absence of that there is no reason to take at face value the complaint. Regardless of right or wrong it is good to see that there is a debate about what could be causing the suicide epidemic, especially in younger people and maybe decision-makers will sit up and take notice of a neglected area. You should read the letters to the editors page of the Sunday Independent last Sunday on how three people took it's coverage of suicide the previous week.

  10. #10

    Default Suicide, a political issue

    I won't listen to people saying economics causes suicide, these are easy answers and if it was the case then the suicide rate would have been alot lower years ago.

    It wasn't becuase it was not recorded properly.


    Social Isolation and on the medical side chemical imbalance in the brain cause suicide.

    People dont' think "god society is so much about the individual" and decide it's so bad they want to kill themselves.
    Get real guys.

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