The Government has launched an ‘evidence-based’ strategy to reduce suicide in Ireland by 10pc over the next five years.
The strategy also commits to 'provide a co-ordinated, 24/7 service'.
‘Connecting for Life’ was launched by the Taoiseach and Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch today and was described as the product of a ‘robust national consultation’.
The strategy has set out seven goals to reduce suicide in Ireland, including: a better understanding of suicidal behaviour, supporting communities to prevent and respond to suicide behaviour, targeted approaches for those vulnerable to suicide, improved access, consistency and integration of services, safe and high-quality services, reduce access to means and better data and research.
Latest figures for suicide in Ireland show 507 people took their own lives in 2012. The statistics have remained high in recent years.
CEO for Suicide or Survive Caroline McGuigan said she is ‘genuinely full of hope’ that the national strategy will reduce the loss of life through suicide.
“I am genuinely full of hope. I see the changes on the ground and I know we need to keep working collaboratively and sharing and learning together,” she said.
“Suicide or Survive feels included and part of the strategy and we are only delighted to be playing our part.
“The Connecting for Life Strategy was thoroughly researched and is evidence based,” she continued.
“There was a robust national consultation to help us develop this road map in how together, we will reduce the loss of life through suicide.”
The national suicide reduction charity Samaritans also welcomed the move, saying it recognises the need for a coordinated response from different sectors of society and collaboration between government departments, state agencies and NGOs working in the area of suicide prevention and local communities.
Executive Director of Samaritans Ireland Catherine Brogan said:
“Suicide is a complex issue which requires action across all sectors of society. We welcome the commitment in the strategy to support suicide prevention in local communities.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny wrote about suicide prevention in today’s Irish Independent, saying: “Judging by our suicide figures, there is not just a wounding but a devastating sadness in the lives of those who find themselves at the edge of society, the edge of coping, and, in too many cases, the edge of life itself.
“This affects so many of our fellow citizens, particularly those who are young and middle-aged. But we are none of us untouchable, none of us immune. So suicide prevention is everyone's concern.”
In my first speech as Taoiseach, I spoke about the old wisdom of how a wound heals from the edges in. Judging by our suicide figures, there is not just a wounding but a devastating sadness in the lives of those who find themselves at the edge of society, the edge of coping, and, in too many cases, the edge of life itself.