Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (580)

Derek Keating


580. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Health if he will present in a detailed report in tabular form a breakdown of the extra €35 million spending on suicide prevention that he has committed to this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30295/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

€35 million additional funding was provided in Budget 2013 for the continued development of our mental health services. This funding is being used primarily for the further development of forensic services, community mental health teams for adults, children and older persons and for mental health intellectual disability and partly to advance activities in the area of suicide prevention. This includes €1 million for the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) for the continued implementation of the Reach Out Suicide Prevention Strategy, approximately €0.5 million for the further roll-out of the Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurse (SCAN) project which allows for crisis interventions at primary care and approximately €2.2 million to implement the Clinical Programme to Address Self Harm in Emergency Departments.

Funding for suicide prevention is provided to the NOSP by the HSE from its overall budget for mental health. Over €8 million (including the additional €1 million referred to above) is provided to NOSP to fund voluntary and statutory agencies delivering services in the area of prevention, intervention, postvention and research. In addition, some €5 million is provided regionally from the general HSE budget to fund HSE Resource Officers for Suicide Prevention, Self-Harm Liaison Nurses in Hospital Emergency Departments and local suicide prevention initiatives.

The NOSP has been reviewing its current activities to make the most of our available resources, including looking at best practice internationally to inform evidence-based policy decisions. This will result in a revised strategic approach for the remainder of 2013 and will inform the final phase of Reach Out, which runs until 2014. I expect that the HSE will approve the revised approach in the very near future. This reviewed approach will build on progress made to date, which includes the provision of awareness and training programmes such as safeTALK and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), National Mental Health Awareness Campaigns as well as the Guidelines for Post-Primary Schools on Mental Health & Suicide Prevention which were jointly developed with the Department of Education and Skills.