Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky


486 people committed suicide in Ireland in 2010 and 2011. (possibly higher than this number)

RTE Frontline have sensibly done a programme/discussion to address what Ireland can do to tackle mental health problems.

Phyllis MacNamara so brave and articulate to tell her husband’s story. Very poignant her insights, especially on anxiety. I hope they listen to her. (“Nobody knew what to do, there isn’t any place in the system…”)

I was surprised to read doing some research that the statistics for suicide are not necessarily higher during Christmas. I had surmised they likely peaked during that time. I was also surprised to see that Ireland had the lowest suicide rates until the 1950’s. That’s no longer the case, this year the numbers are high with one Offaly coroner describing suicide as “rampant” in rural Ireland. (RTE Jan 2011) By April this year Ireland’s suicide rate was described by Minister of State for Health Kathleen Lynch as “the highest in its history” (Source: Irish Times April 8, 2011). A letter to the Irish Times last week cited that “…from 2003 to 2011, Ireland lost 4,408 young men and women to suicide.”

How are we to reach people and persuade or convince them otherwise? How can the stigma of mental illness be overcome? How can problems that seem insurmountable appear otherwise? Is our general inarticulateness around death also contributing? Why do we continue to understand so little about the brain?