Media urged to be careful not to inadvertently glamorise suicide

A Donegal priest has said someone in government must take responsibility for mental health services, and fix what is clearly a broken system.

Fr John Joe Duffy was speaking yesterday at the funeral of 15 year old Shannon Gallagher from Ballybofey.

Shannon's body was found her home on Wednesday night, six weeks after the death of her 13 year old sister Erin.

In his homily, Fr Duffy said it is a most damning indictment for any society that it has failed two young sisters within 2 short months.

He said his heart is shattered at how poorly we understand the issues concerning mental health among youth and in the general population.

Fr Duffy told the congregation the systems and methodologies in place and used by the HSE and other agencies dealing with these cases simply do not work, and we are failing to protect the most fragile and most vulnerable children in our society.

The systems and approach need to be radically improved, he said, so that they have a relevance, and are fit for purpose in the modern world.

Fr Duffy said someone in Government must take a hands on role and do whatever it takes to combat what he termed the most serious problem affecting our country.

For the love of God, he concluded, let some one in Government take leadership and reform what is clearly a broken system.

Meanwhile, Calls are being made for the media to take more responsibility and not to glamourise suicide.

The suicide prevention organisation Console says it's deeply concerned that many young people now see suicide as a solution to their problems - and that copycat suicides are becoming more prevalent.

Over 500 people took their own lives in Ireland last year - and over 12,000 more were admitted to hospital emergency departments with self inflicted injuries.

Founder of Console is Paul Kelly...............

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