Housing crisis increasing risk of suicide in Ireland

Console says people in pre or post-repossession crisis are at high risk of taking their own lives...

Housing crisis increasing risk of suicide in Ireland

Picture by: Niall Carson / PA Archive/Press Association Images

National suicide prevention charity Console says the housing crisis is having a major impact on Irish people's mental health and well-being.

Over the past six months, their free 24-hour helpline has increasingly received calls from people who cannot cope due to their housing situation.

Those at risk of house repossession or eviction, or people suffering the after effects of it coming to pass, are increasingly entertaining suicidal thoughts.

Console CEO Paul Kelly said:

"Unfortunately, in many cases we are now dealing with the aftermath and providing bereavement counselling in our centres nationwide to families after a person has taken their own life.

"Callers in this area tend to be those who have lost their homes, those in high mortgage arrears, those facing foreclosure and those struggling to deal with high rents that they cannot afford. We are dealing with calls from people from all walks of life who have been unexpectedly thrown into a financial black hole that they can't find a way out of.

"People tell us they can't sleep at night, they are having panic attacks and don't want to wake up in the morning for fear of the dreaded letter coming in through the post. There is no doubt that the housing crisis is having a detrimental impact on people's self worth and on their mental health and wellbeing".

A considerable number of the approximately 3,400 calls the service receives each month come from people now living in hotels.

"Their children are travelling for hours every morning to school, they have no facilities to cook, their family life is uncertain from day to day, and many say that they simply can't take any more. Some families are spiralling into depression as a whole, even people who were once very strong and very successful".

On Easter Sunday, a protest took place near official Easter Rising commemorations in Dublin to highlight the plight of Ireland's homeless. It had some 150 supporters including local politicians and broadcaster Ray D'Arcy.

January figures showed that there were 5,715 people in emergency accommodation nationally, including 884 families with 1,830 children.

Console's helpline can be reached for free, day or night, on 1800 247 247. For more information, go to www.console.ie