HSE promotes suicide prevention in Midlands

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day the HSE is asking people to be aware of all the services available within the community, and a full list of contact details can be found at the bottom of this article.

It is estimated that one million people die worldwide by suicide each year, which equates to one death every 40 seconds. In Ireland, this was 535 last year.

The aim of‘World Suicide Prevention Day’ is to promote better understanding about suicide and to highlight effective prevention activities at national, regional, and more especially, at local level.

The prevention of suicide is “everyone’s business” and whilst each and every one of us do as much as we can to prevent the terrible tragedy of suicide, because it is so complex, sometimes it is difficult to be as effective and helpful as we would like to be.

However, training is available to gain the knowledge and skills to be in a position to identify the signs and give help and support to someone we may be concerned about.

The HSE Midlands co-ordinates and funds a series of targeted programmes aimed at promoting positive mental health and suicide prevention, the aim of which is to ensure that innovative, relevant and co-ordinated services are available to the community in the following ways:

• A mental health awareness programme for senior cycle students in all secondary schools within the Midlands

• The provision of an overall suicide prevention and community awareness programme to communities throughout the Midlands

• A programme for people who have become unemployed and who may be facing financial or personal challenges

• Provision of localised support groups to cover specific areas within mental health.

• A programme to resource organisations and workplaces to enable them to respond to respond to and support persons who are at risk of suicidal behaviour

Training is available on an ongoing basis to gain the knowledge and skills to be in a position to identify the signs and give help and support to someone who may be vulnerable.

Current initiatives include homilies at the masses in Delvin and Clonmellon on September 11-12, and September 18-19 respectively.

An Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST ) workshop will be delivered in the Heritage Centre in Ferbane on the weekend of September 17 and 18

Awareness and training provision to secondary and primary teachers and community forum groups in Westmeath and Offaly is also planned.

In conjunction with Athlone Lions Club and Athlone Institute of Technology, three ASIST workshops will be organised during the first six months of 2010 for academic and tutor staff, as well as for students.

ASIST is a two-day skills-based workshop which trains participants to recognise and respond to a suicidal risk. Most people thinking about suicide signal their pain, suicide intervention training provides the ability to be more alert to these signals. It also increases confidence and skills so that immediate safety and further help can be provided. These workshops are held on a monthly basis in various centres in Tullamore, Portlaoise, Athlone, Mullingar, and Longford and are available to everyone.

Another programme available is SafeTALK where, in only a few hours participants learn how to provide practical help to persons who are having thoughts of suicide.

To participate in either of the above programmes, which are free of charge, contact the HSE Suicide Prevention Service on (057 ) 9327909 or (086 ) 8157850. The HSE also provide a support telephone number (086 ) 8157320 for those who would like to talk in confidence, or for anyone who might be worried about family members or friends and would like advice or information.

Other helpful numbers include:

Aware:1890 303 302

Grow: 1890 474 474 or (057 ) 93 51124 for information

Mental Health Ireland: (086 ) 8353387

Shine (formerly Schizophrenia Ireland ): 1890 621 631 or (057 ) 93 23111.

Samaritans:1850 60 90 90, text: (087 ) 260 9090, email: [email protected]

Teenline:1800 833 634 / www.teenline.ie

Senior helpline:1850 404 444

One Life suicide hotline:1800 247 100 (24-hour professional counselling service ) www.1life.ie.


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