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Ireland has highest rate for child suicide of girls in the EU

A new mental health service is being set up, after it was revealed that Ireland has the highest r...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.12 6 Nov 2018


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Ireland has highest rate for c...

Ireland has highest rate for child suicide of girls in the EU

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.12 6 Nov 2018


Share this article


A new mental health service is being set up, after it was revealed that Ireland has the highest rate for child suicide of girls in the European Union.

The National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) says it has also found that women are twice as likely to be affected by depression and anxiety as men.

It also uncovered a worrying trend, where women in of the poorest parts of Dublin are taking their own lives in the same numbers as men for the first time.

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The NWCI launched its 'Out of Silence, women's mental health in their own words'.

This coincided with the first meeting of the Women's Mental Health Network - a new collaboration between NWCI and St Patrick's Mental Health Services.

Based on conversations with over 100 women from across Ireland, the report documents for the first time the specific mental health needs of women and girls in Ireland.

It also highlights necessary steps to prioritise prevention and provision of services going forward.

Key themes

The report said: "It was clear from the women we spoke to that their mental health is impacted by the gender inequality they encounter and by their life experiences.

"Clearly, how women move through the world and the experiences they face can influence the mental health issues they encounter and how they will seek support.

"In our conversations, women consistently talked about the challenges they faced, coping with multiple, intersecting demands on them - the need to 'look good', to achieve in work, to care for their family and to support their partners through their own hard times."

Women from marginalised communities - including migrant women and Traveller women - spoke about the impact of discrimination and very poor living conditions on their mental well-being.

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Five key themes impacting women's mental health emerged from across the conversations: women's experiences of mental health; expectations of womanhood; social determinants of mental health; mental health at different life stages; and the diverse experiences of women.

"As the women participants spoke about their experiences of mental health and well-being, they began to identify areas which they felt should be prioritised to support women.

"We document the calls for change identified by the women who participated.

"These priorities, which participants felt would ensure women are better supported to enjoy well-being and to feel cared for during times of mental health difficulty, are grouped under four broad themes: prevention; training; adequate supports; and access to mental health services."

"The need to listen to women"

NWCI's women's health coordinator and co-author of the report is Cliona Loughnane.

"Women's voices are too often absent from the discussions on mental health in Ireland.

"Our report aims to bring women's mental health out of this silence.

"It highlights women's direct experiences, how they cope, how they keep themselves well and how they feel they could be better supported by services.

"Recent women's healthcare scandals have shown the need to listen to women and use their experiences to inform health policies and the provision of services for women and girls in all our diversity.

"Unfortunately, the findings of this project show that there are deficits in mental health provision for women.

"If we want to improve mental health outcomes for women, we must address issues such as women's shame and guilt when speaking out, the fear of their children being removed when seeking support, depression, low self-esteem and long waiting lists for care."

Majority of mental health admissions

Advocacy manager at St Patrick's Mental Health Services, Louise O'Leary, said: "Women account for the majority of admissions to St Patrick's Mental Health Services, with the ratio of female to male admissions standing at 3:2.

"The launch of the Women's Mental Health Network will provide an opportunity for collaboration and learning among different voices and sectors to the progress women's mental health in Ireland.

"While women and men experience mental health difficulties to equal degrees, there are important differences as regards needs, experiences and causes or contributory factors.

"We need to become more aware and responsive to these differences so that mental health services, and mental health promotion and prevention efforts can be more effective."

The newly-created Women's Mental Health Network aims to provide a forum for information-sharing and networking among interested parties, and to advance interdisciplinary and multi-agency collaboration to progress women's mental health.

Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact the National Women's Council of Ireland on 01-679-0100 - or The Samaritans on 116-123, text 087-2-60-90-90 or e-mail jo@samaritans.ie


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