May 29, 2012

'Something isn't working"                          

New report will challenge HSE suicide strategy By Maria Tracey Cork families affected by sui- cide will be instrumental in compiling a report that will inform the Health Service Ex- ecutive (HSE) on its current strategy. Glanmire Labour senator, John Gilroy has been appointed to compile the re- port, to be launched later this year, investigating the issue of suicide prevention for the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.

Senator Gilroy, who has 27 years of experience in the psychiatric services, outlined that he wanted to speak to members of the public and hear their views on suicide.

"I believe suicide is the single greatest challenge facing our society and we must do ev- erything we can to reduce the incidence," he said. "Every- one's opinion is important and perhaps by seeking as wide a range of views as possible we might be able to uncover some new insights which might help us in understanding what is happening in our society." In the past eight months, Senator Gilroy has been con- ducting a series of consulta- tions with organisations and agencies working in the area of suicide. He believes the strategy being implemented by the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) entitled Reach Out, "is not working and needs to be re- viewed".

"This report has to feed into official policy. Reach Out was first published in 2005 and it's not doing enough. There are 90 steps in it, and over 30 of them need to be reviewed. The fact that suicide is continuing to rise shows that something isn't working," highlighted Senator Gilroy.

He added that points to be addressed in the Oireachtas Committee report include over medication by GPs.

"There needs to be a rebal-ance of services as peopledo not approach the MentalHealth Service as their firstport of call when somethingisn't right, it's their GP theygo to. However, patients com-ing in with sleep disturbanc-es- an underlying symptom ofdepression- are being misdi-agnosed and mistreated," hesaid.

Those wishing to voice theirviews on the prevention ofsuicide can contact Sena-tor Gilroy on 085 7759898, orvisit Unit 2C Crestfleld Cen-tre, Glanmire.