Written Answers. - Suicide Incidence.

Cecilia Keaveney

Question:

565 Cecilia Keaveney asked the Minister for Health and Children the current position in relation to the implementation of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19878/00]

Considerable progress has been made to date in the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the task force on suicide. Central to the report was the provision of a national suicide prevention strategy which is now in place. The key components of the strategy are the implementation of measures aimed at high risk groups; provision of information and training on suicide prevention to relevant professionals and organisations; and research into suicide prevention.

All health boards have appointed resource officers to further the implementation of the strategy within their own areas. Many of the task force's recommendations require continuous development, particularly in the area of training and in the development of services relating to suicide and suicide prevention.

The National Suicide Review Group, established under the auspices of the health board chief executive officers, has recently published its annual report for 1999 which provides a comprehensive overview of activities in suicide prevention. Statistics for 1999 show a decline in the total number of suicides for the first time in five years, down from 504 in 1998 to 439 in 1999.