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Suicide helpline for teens launched
Irish Times 09/09/2006
by Mark Rodden

A new freephone helpline for young people at risk of suicide, depression and self harm was launched in Ballyfermot last night. The Samaritans' Teenhelp service was set up by community groups in response to high rates of suicide among teenagers in the area.

The helpline became active at 7pm last night after it was officially launched at the Ballyfermot Community Civic Centre. Pat Teehan, co-ordinator for the area of Revitalising Area by Planning, Investment and Development (RAPID), said that the idea had come about after he and other local people had attended the funerals of a number of young people in a short space of time.

"We were shocked to find that in February last year we were looking at an average of one suicide a month in the area", he said.  "Last January to March, we were looking at a figure of 20 to 25 deaths for the three-month period, which is a huge amount."

The majority of these deaths involved males between 16 to 25 from Ballyfermot, Clondalkin and Palmerstown areas. There were 431 suicides in Ireland last year, but the HSE does not provide figures for lacalties. "The figure {in the Ballyfermot area} is way above the national average", said Phil Huston, director of the Dublin branch of the Samaritans.