June 24, 2015
Wednesday 24 June 2015 11.53
The new national strategy to lower suicide is aiming to reduce deaths by suicide by 10%.
The strategy was launched this morning.
Latest figures for suicide in Ireland show 507 people took their own lives in 2012 and the statistics have remained high in recent years.
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Connecting for Life outlines a new set of seven main goals comprised of 69 actions to be implemented over the next five years.
A reduction in deaths by suicide of 10% is targeted along with commitments to “provide a co-ordinated, 24/7 service”.
The strategy also outlines plans to a statutory consultation process to consider the feasibility of regulating counsellors and psychotherapists.
Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch said the new suicide prevention plan is not about spending more money but will focus on connecting existing services and resources.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ms Lynch said €10m will be spent on the plan, a similar amount spent on the previous strategy.
“There comes a point when it’s not about money, it’s about awareness, it’s about being able to speak about it out loud, it’s about knowing where to turn when a crisis occurs, it’s about recognising the signs that bring people to the point that they are thinking of suicide as a way of ending their own lives and really it is about continuing to do what we have been doing in the last number of years but doing it with the knowledge we have gathered over the last number of years.”
Ms Lynch spoke about connecting individuals to their communities and communities to mental health services.
She said there will be an implementation group that will ensure these commitments are carried out.
The Minister said 20 specially trained nurses are currently in place in emergency departments but there will be 35 in total.
Fianna Fáil Senator Marc MacSharry said that while any attempt to address “our nation’s silent crisis” are welcomed, he expressed concern at the lack of additional resources.
Mr MacSharry, who wrote his party’s policy paper on suicide reduction, said the document “is high on aspiration and rhetoric but fails in strategy, resources and ambition.”
The Samaritans, the national suicide reduction charity, welcomed the plan, saying it “recognises the need for a coordinated response.”
Catherine Brogan, Executive Director of Samaritans Ireland, said “a coordinated policy response has the potential to address the social and economic factors which impact on suicidal behaviour.”
The Samaritans telehone: 116 123 (ROI) and 08457 909090 (NI)
Pieta House telephone: 01-601000
Aware telephone: 1890-303302