Restrictions on media coverage of suicide means the the scale of the problem is not known but likely to be much bigger than recorded officially, the Laois RTE broadcaster, Claire Byrne told the launch of Laois Connects
Launching the first Mental Health Week in Portlaoise, the Mountrath native said that while reporting must be restricted, not doing so is frustrating.
“You can’t report death by suicide the way you would want. There is an issue of responsibility. We need to be very careful that when it comes to reporting suicide you don’t induce others to do the same thing,” she said.
Speaking in the wake of a recent tragedy shesaid there is another side to not reporting suicide in more details.
“It means a lot of us don’t know the extent of sucide. There are more people dying from suicide in Ireland than are dying on the roads,” she said.
Ms Byrne said there was a constant barrage of bad news at present, so it was good to be involved with a positive initiative which help people cope.
“We have been listening to that stuff for the past five years and it is weighing down on us. That is why it is fantastic for me to come back to my own county and see that we are doing something like this,” she said.
Ms Byrne praised the organisers for the varied agenda from walks, to cookery to the more serious talks. The broadcaster said other counties would replicate Laois Connects.
“I’ve no doubt that other counties would look at what happens in Laois from September 15 to 22 and say we can do that. We not have the budget but we are going to find a way to do it and make it happen,”
She congratulated the organisers and wished them well over the two weeks.