Ireland has the 3rd highest youth suicide rate in Europe but we depend largely on charities to provide critical services to those at risk of suicide.
UCD Students’ Union committed to raising €100,000 for one of these charities – Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland— because of the alarming levels of suicide iamongst Irish students. We’re providing funding so that YSPI can provide suicide prevention education to schools nationwide.
So far this year, we’ve gotten €46,393 in donations for Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland and their prevention programme “The Four Steps to Help”. While the ways in which we raised this money may have also raised a few eyebrows, it’s important to note that YSPI depend on these kind of public fundraising campaigns to continue their work with Irish students.
They receive no state support despite being the only national charity to focus exclusively on tackling youth suicide & self-harm.
Why is this?
Earlier this year, the Government launched ‘Connecting for Life’, a new strategy to reduce suicide from 2015 – 2020. This document focuses on building up community based supports for young people.
However, funding targets set out in ‘A Vision For Change’ — a previous policy document & strategy for mental health reform from 2006— have still not been met by Government. This strategy document advocated a similar move from the old style model of institutional care to community based mental health services. However, its implementation was curtailed by public spending cuts and a lack of strong political backing.
Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland was founded in 2007 following the publication of ‘A Vision for Change’ as there were no national charities focusing specifically on the problems and issues of youth suicide and self-harm in Ireland.
Our response as a nation to what has been publicly termed as the “great epidemic of this generation” is still sadly lacking in coherence and is still completely dependent on YSPI and other non-governmental organisations.
Our fundraising campaign is a platform for students to contribute and actively do something about the issue of youth suicide, but the upcoming general election is a platform for us to ask serious questions about how the government will respond to this problem that has affected every one of us.
We’re calling on all UCD students to visit Mental Health Reform’s website and join the ?#?ourstateofmind? campaign. Mental Health Reform is a coalition of organizations with the single goal of making mental health an electoral priority in Ireland and transforming supports from institutional to community based.
We have made a difference – together we’ve raised over €40K for Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland - YSPI, and with a strong student vote in this general election we have an opportunity to do even more.