COMMENT: Government, you've let us down again
It’s almost laughable.
Ten deputies were present in the Dáil today for a discussion on mental health.
That’s the same number of Irish people that will die this week by suicide.
One-in-five Irish people will at some stage suffer from mental health difficulties. Given how quintessentially small Ireland is, it’s guaranteed that we all know someone that has faced difficulties.
Some of us might have a brother that struggled in his twenties, unable to secure work in this economy and who maybe faced the decision to emigrate. His thoughts may have made him believe that he was useless, worthless and would be better off being one of the estimated 522 reported suicides annually.
Some of us might have a sister that grew into her teens feeling repulsed by her own body. Who may have spent hours in her room analysing every inch of her body, hating it, because body dysmorphia led her to believe she was ugly.
Most of us probably have a friend that struggled for years with their sexuality – growing up in a country where marriage to the sex they loved was illegal. Where the laws around their orientation made them feel alienated and alone and rejected.
We might have a mother, a father, an uncle or an aunt that was made redundant and whose desperation is growing as their debts mount.
We all have someone, living in this country who has been let down by the government. Whose mental health has suffered because our economy has. Whose mental health has suffered because our social policy has.
And today the government or would be government showed a complete disrespect for that.
As the disgust at the low level of turnout at the Dail debate grew, Twitter user began to tweet #IAmAReason.
Stories of mental health issues were quickly shared, with people either sharing their own stories or sharing their support for the vulnerable people who will fall victim to the recent cuts. The hashtag was a collective voice of disgust, a cry for help and a stark reminder that failing to represent us, our families and our friends is unacceptable.
We all know someone.
Or we are that someone.
Either way, ten fucking deputies showed up.
One for every suicide this week.