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Young male suicide rate here among worst in EU

THE rate of suicide among young men here is one of the highest in Europe, figures show. An estimated 165 teens and young men took their own lives in the Republic in 2011, while another 72 died by suicide in Northern Ireland.

The cross-border Men's Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) said the high numbers coincide with the economic downturn and increasing levels of unemployment.

It called for targeted measures aimed at reducing the rate of self-harm and suicide in the under-30s, which is fourth highest in the EU at 16 per 100,000.

Dr Noel Richardson, author of its report, Young Men And Suicide, said there can be no quick-fix solutions to tackling the statistics.

"But neither is there any place for inertia or ambivalence," he said.

"There needs to be a concerted effort to engage more effectively, and in a more sustained way, with young men, and to plan services and programmes with young men in mind.

"This report provides a blueprint and a roadmap for action."

The study found Ireland's overall suicide rate was average in Europe, but when data focused on young men it lagged only behind the Ukraine, Finland and Lithuania.

It revealed that over the past 10 years men have been five times more likely to take their own lives than women. And although rates of attempted suicide and deliberate self-harm were traditionally higher among women, it is now more common among men.

The report -- jointly funded by the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland and the National Office for Suicide Prevention in the Republic -- is being launched in Dublin and Belfast today.

Stormont Health Minister Edwin Poots said despite investing over £32m in suicide prevention since 2006, the rate has not fallen.