Written Answers. - Suicide Research Group.

Dan Neville

Question:

588 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of meetings of the suicide research group established by the chief executive officers of the health boards held to date; and if he will report on the progress of the work of the group. [1823/99]

To date the suicide research group has met on three occasions. The most recent meeting was held on Tuesday, 26 January 1999. The remit of this group, as recommennded by the National Task Force on Suicide, is to review ongoing trends in suicide and para-suicide, to co-ordinate research into suicide and the make appropriate recommedations to the chief executive officer of the health boards.

The group has identified the areas where it wishes to see progress being made. It is anxious to collate relevant national and international material relating to the incidence of suicide and causes of suicide for the purposes of establishing, as far as possible, a cause and effect relationship between certain factors and suicidal behaviour and advise the chief executive officers, where necessary, on the effectiveness of specific interventions on suicide rates.

At the second meeting of the group held in the autumn of 1998, the group identified the need to appoint a researcher with support staff to assist the group in its work. I have made available a sum of £50,000 to meet the costs associated with the appointment of research personnel. I understand that the suicide research group will advertise the research posts shortly.