Gardai, Ambulance Paramedics and A&E staff are expected to be busy tonight as almost 58,000 students celebrate their Leaving Certificate results across Ireland. Last year saw the Gardai and Ambulance Service come under increased pressure in dealing with alcohol and medical related incidents. Voluntary Ambulance Services such as the St. John Ambulance Service and Positive Mental Health awareness groups and Suicide Prevention Patrols such as Wexford Marine Watch and others are also expected to be busy once again this year, as they try and assist students and prevent them from coming to any harm. Those within the emergency and voluntary services are hoping for a quieter night this year and that students celebrate safe and well.
A Free phone helpline for students is provided by the National Parents’ Council Post Primary (NPCpp), and is open from 10am this morning to take calls from students, parents and teachers seeking advice and up to date information on what choices are available to students. Students and parents can call the freephone helpline on 1800-265-165. The helpline is staffed by members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors who are fully qualified in their field.
Alcohol and Injures
The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland has warned of the devastating consequences of harmful drinking and urged students to take care of themselves and their friends. Its president, Prof Frank Murray, said: “Unfortunately every year as a result of these celebrations, we see many young people admitted to hospitals with a range of injuries, some of which can be catastrophic, as a result of harmful drinking.
Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, is encouraging parents to talk to their children about the risks associated with alcohol. Chief executive Suzanne Costello said: “It’s natural that young people receiving their Leaving Cert results want to go out and celebrate with their friends. This is an important milestone for them and they should enjoy the celebrations.
Accident & Emergency Departments
More than one in four of those attending emergency departments have alcohol- related injuries and almost half are people aged under 30. Alcohol is a factor in one in four traumatic brain injuries. It is also a factor in 80% of cases of assaulted patients admitted to neurosurgery units. Incidentally, if you are admitted to an A&E Unit and you see a very familiar face, don’t be too surprised, it’s happened before!
Leaving cert students who sat through a two-hour hard hitting road safety show in any county over the past two years are being asked to ‘Think Back’, on what they saw and heard, and ‘Think Ahead’ on how it can be prevented today. Local Authority Road Safety Officers provide a graphic and hard hitting roadshow on all aspects of road safety every year in their respective areas. Many of the people receiving their results today would have seen at first hand the horrific outcomes and the life-long consequences of those involved in real collisions on the road.
Declan Keogh, Road Safety Officer at Kildare County Council is asking those students to ‘Think Back and Think Ahead’ in order that they have a safe and entire journey home tonight. He says “Alcohol will no doubt be a huge factor for students today and tonight and now is the time to pre-arrange your journey home so that it is not messed up later by taking a last minute chance or making a last minute choice which could ultimately change their lives resulting in the worst possible outcome”
He added “Peer pressure is another factor which young people have great difficulty in overcoming, and when it come to the road or being offered a lift home, peer pressure won’t save you in the end. If you know the driver is not fit to drive, say No and don’t allow your mates into the car ether. You might even thank your lucky stars the next morning when you hear the news”.
Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer, Mayo County Council said parents have a role to play too when it comes to making sure their children arrive home safe. : “We would urge parents to discuss their children’s plan for the evening, ask where they are going, who they are going with, how and when they plan on getting home. We want young people to be aware of the dangers in cars and not to put themselves or their friends at risk, especially when it comes to travelling to venues to celebrate.”
Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the RSA said: “It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting your Leaving Cert results. Your hard work has paid off and now you’re planning for the future. It’s a fantastic time for young people and we want you to enjoy every moment. But just because you’re celebrating tonight doesn’t mean you have to take risks. You have your whole life ahead of you so be smart, make the right choice and get home safely tonight.”
Positive Mental Health
Suicide Prevention Patrols in many areas will be on duty once again this year. Last year, the Wexford Marine Watch crew were busy in detecting and preventing potential water rescues of vulnerable students. Students are being reminded that a Leaving cert result should not be the biggest worry on a persons mind and that many positive outcomes have resulted from those who may not have achieved the points they hoped for, or the results they wished for.
Emergency Times wishes good luck to all those receiving results today, and in particular any of our followers or the young members involved in the Voluntary Services we serve, such as the Civil Defence, Order of Malta, Irish Red Cross. St. John Ambulance Service, the RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard.
Enjoy your day, safe and well.