Fine Gael has called on the Government to increase spending on mental health and to put in place a national suicide prevention strategy, which the party says is long overdue.

Ireland has the second highest rate of suicide among young men in Europe, and it is estimated that one Irish person attempts to die by suicide every 45 minutes.

The Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, launched a campaign by Young Fine Gael today that is aimed at addressing the issue of youth suicide. 

The party described the rate of suicide as 'alarming' and 'unacceptable'.

In a statement the Department of Health said a national suicide prevention strategy would be published later this year.

It added that since 1998, more than €17.5 million has been allocated towards suicide prevention and research, and much of this has been geared towards young people.