County Coroner, Dr Denis McCauley
By Declan Magee firstname.lastname@example.org @dgldemocrat
The coroner for Donegal has said suicide is a terrible blight that is affecting young people and is a bigger problem here than official figures suggest.
Dr. Denis McCauley (pictured) was speaking at the inquest of 13-year-old Donegal girl Erin Gallagher, who took her own life in October 2012.
Her sister Shannon took her own life just six weeks later.
Speaking on the impact of suicide in general in the county, Dr McCauley said that he has dealt with 16 deaths by suicide in his first year as coroner in three areas of Donegal. Those figures exclude Inishowen.
He said the national average is ten deaths per 100,000 people, and in Donegal the figure is 7.9 per 100,000. But he said the number of suicide inquests he is dealing with means the actual figure here is closer to 13 deaths per 100,000.
“The most common age of deaths of people is under 25,” he said. “We have a terrible blight.
“We have a suicide rate which is higher than the national average and it's affecting a disproportionate group.”
The inquest returned a verdict of death by suicide.
Concerned about suicide - numbers to call
Anyone with any concerns about themselves or a loved one can contact the Samaritans on the free number, 116 123. The Samaritans provide a confidential listening service 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
People are also advised to make an appointment with their local GP during office hours. During evenings, nights or weekends, from 6pm to 8am, people can contact an out-of-hours GP service at NowDoc, 1850 400 911.