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Coroner concerned about rapid rise in teenage suicides

Coroner concerned about rapid rise in teenage suicides

Anton McNulty

Many teenagers are living in a fantasy world – a world that they cannot marry with reality. This is the view of Coroner for north Mayo, Dr Eleanor Fitzgerald, who last week expressed her concern about the increasing number of teenage suicides.
The rate of suicide among teenagers has increased rapidly over the past four years, with coroners reporting that three out of every four cases of sudden death is attributed to suicide. Dr Fitzgerald said that teenage suicide was an all too common occurrence, and that there was a concern that little was being done about it. Speaking to The Mayo News, she said that suicide amongst teenagers seemed to be an impulsive act, and she pointed out that the problem was widespread and not just in Mayo.

Communication paramount
The coroner explained that in the majority of teenage-suicide cases, the parents had no idea their child had any problems, and she urged parents to communicate more with their children. Dr Fitzgerald said that in many cases, teenagers find it difficult to deal with rejection and think the only way out is to end their life.
“Many teenagers are living in a fantasy world and are not able to marry that with what is happening in reality. If they face rejection they are not able to deal with it and suicide is seen as a way out for them. Tragically, for whatever reason, many young people do not see any reason to live.
“Parents need to know what to do in a crisis and get their teenagers to talk to them and build up a relationship. Teenagers have lots of access to the internet and are often cocooned in their rooms … there is no talking going on,” she said.

Hanging most common
Dr Fitzgerald said that hanging by rope was becoming the most common form of suicide, and she found it ‘scary’ how so many young people knew how to do it. She said that in many cases suicide is a cry for help, and that in many cases of failed attempts, the person who tried to commit suicide is happy not to have gone through with it.
The coroner has called for greater intervention through education. “Very few think it through and for that reason I would like to see education come into this.”

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