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Union gives advice

IRELAND

An Irish teachers' union has issued guidelines to schools on how to respond to suicides.

Suicide is now a more common cause of death among young Irishmen than car accidents. Last year 355 males and 78 females took their lives; eight were under 15.

A survey by the union, the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland, found that 13 per cent of secondary schools had reported a suicide. Many said there was a need for guidelines on how to respond to the death of students through suicide or other traumatic events. There have been some instances of pupils committing suicide following years of bullying at school.

The guidelines cover practical issues such as how to inform the school community, whether or not the school should remain open or closed, and the counselling services needed.

In the medium to long term, the guidelines suggest a review of the school's pastoral care services, social and health education programmes, home school liaison and extra-curricular activities.

The government has promised a national educational psychological service for schools.

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