Ireland’s teen suicide rate 4th highest in EU/OECD – UNICEF

       One in 10,000 15-19-year-old’s in Ireland will die by suicide

       Ireland ranks 22nd of 41 wealthy nations on health and well-being

Ireland has the fourth highest teen suicide rate in the EU/OECD region, according to UNICEF’s latest Report Card on child well-being. 

Ireland has an above average international (10.3) suicide rate amongst adolescents aged 15-19 per 100,000 population (2008-2013), ranking 34th out of 37[i] wealthy nations surveyed.

Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries is the first report to assess the status of children in 41 high-income countries in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified as most important for child well-being. The SDGs were launched in 2016. It ranks countries based on their performance against the SDGs, and details the challenges and opportunities that advanced economies face in achieving global commitments to children. 

UNICEF Ireland Chief Executive Peter Power said: “UNICEF’s latest Report Card serves as a wake-up call for Ireland. Despite economic recovery and the idea that the consequent rising tide will benefit everyone, it is clear children are experiencing real and substantial inequality and we risk leaving them behind. Services are inadequate in several areas and policy change is badly needed.”

The report also shows a worrying rise in self-reported adolescent mental health issues, indicating that teenagers themselves have concerns about their mental health; 22.6 per cent of children aged 11-15 report experiencing two or more psychological symptoms more than once a week.

Other significant findings for Ireland: 

 ·       18.3 per cent of children are living in relative income poverty RANK: 17TH

·       23 per cent of children are living in multidimensional poverty RANK: 10TH

·       17.9 per cent of children under 15 live with an adult who is food insecure RANK: 33RD

·       9.1 per cent of 15-19-year-olds are not in education, employment or training RANK: 30TH

·       18.8 per cent of children under 18 live in jobless households RANK: 37TH

·       Teen birth rate drops to 10.09 births per 1,000 girls age 15-19 (17.36 in 2005) RANK: 25TH

·       Number of teens reporting being drunk in the past month down to 4.8 per cent..RANK: 8TH

Across the wider region, 1 in 5 children in high-income countries lives in relative income poverty and an average of 1 in 8 faces food insecurity, rising to 1 in 5 in the UK.

For some indicators – income inequality, adolescent self-reported mental health and obesity – the trends suggest cause for concern in the majority of rich countries. In 2 out of 3 countries studied, the poorest households with children are now further behind the average than they were in 2008. The rate of obesity among 11–15-year-olds and the rate of adolescents reporting two or more mental health problems a week is increasing in the majority of countries.

Although many countries have seen broad progress, there are wide gaps between them. National income levels fail to explain all of the differences: for example, Slovenia is far ahead of wealthier countries on many indicators, while the United States ranks 37 of 41 in the summary league table. 

Based on the results, UNICEF calls for high-income countries to take action in five key areas: 

·       Put children at the heart of equitable and sustainable progress – Improving the well-being of all children today is essential for achieving both equity and sustainability. 

·       Leave no child behind – National averages often conceal extreme inequalities and the severe disadvantage of groups at the bottom of the scale. 

·       Improve the collection of comparable data – in particular on violence against children, early childhood development, migration and gender. 

·       Use the rankings to help tailor policy responses to national contexts – No country does well on all indicators of well-being for children and all countries face challenges in achieving at least some child-focused SDG targets. 

·       Honour the commitment to global sustainable development – The overarching SDG framework engages all countries in a global endeavour. 

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