Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (542)

Brendan Griffin


542. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if he will consider an approach to help suicide prevention (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11309/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Suicide is a tragedy that we are constantly working to prevent and also working to give more support to the families affected. Dealing with the current high levels of suicide and deliberate self harm is a priority for this Government. The HSE's National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) has developed a range of initiatives designed to support people who are suicidal and also supporting their families, friends and peers in recognising and responding appropriately to signs of emotional distress and suicidal thoughts.

Key initiatives progressed by the NOSP in 2012 include the continuation of the National Awareness Campaigns which, last year, specifically targeted men and young men, the provision of a wide range of awareness and training programmes including safeTALK and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Training) which trains participants to become more alert to the possibility of suicide in their community, the funding of partner agencies and projects, and the development of the recently launched Guidance for Post-Primary Schools on Mental Health & Suicide Prevention developed with the Department of Education and Skills.

While my Department has no plans to consider an approach similar to the "crashed lives" campaign, the Department of Health is currently in discussions with the NOSP to agree a strategy for suicide prevention in 2013 having regard to the increased funding available this year and the concerns around suicide generally. Priority initiatives will include the further development of existing National Mental Health Awareness campaigns to promote help seeking; increased training for GPs and practice staff; the training of acute hospital staff on suicide and self harm intervention; the development of the SCAN (Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurse) model which allows for crisis interventions at primary care and continued investment in voluntary agencies providing frontline services.