Friday 23 February 2018

TDs attend suicide awareness workshops


TDs and Senators from all parties are to attend a course on suicide awareness today.

“safeTALK” is a three-hour training programme run by the National Office for Suicide Prevention and will have 30 people in attendance, including Oireachtas members and their staff, for today’s seminar.

The training is in response to the 486 deaths by suicide that were registered across Ireland in 2010 and will be held at Leinster House this morning.

It has been organised by the Oireachtas cross-party group on mental health which is convened by TDs including Fine Gael’s Simon Harris, Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary, Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, and independent Maureen O’Sullivan.

The safeTALK seminar aims to teach people about how to identify those who may have suicidal thoughts and how to reach out to them to give them help.

Spokesperson and member of the group, Labour Senator Susan O’Keeffe has said that the financial crisis has the potential to drive people to suicide.

“Research shows that economic cycles give a clear indication of suicide trends, and recessions have been shown to be accompanied by an increase in suicide rates,” she said.

“We as politicians are aware of the difficulty in which people are finding themselves and we want to encourage the supports that are available to them. Suicide first aid should be as commonplace as a first aid box in our society.”

“While we may not feel that we have the knowledge to deal with a person who is in distress, this training is about the basic skills we can all learn to identify people with thoughts of suicide and to put them in touch with suicide first aid,” she added.

According to safeTALK, people who undergo their seminar will be able to “move beyond common tendencies to miss, dismiss or avoid suicide”, “[to] identify people who have thoughts of suicide” and “[to] apply the TALK steps (Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe) to connect a person with suicide thoughts to suicide first aid, intervention caregivers.”

You can contact Samaritans on 1850 60 9090, or contact them via email

You can contact Pieta House on 01 601 000 or email mary@pieta.

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