Suicide action plans needed at a local level - Samaritans
Local action plans are needed to tackle the growing issue of suicide in this country, it was warned yesterday.
The Executive Director of Samaritans Ireland, Deirdre Toner, called on the Government to make suicide reduction a priority.
Ms Toner spoke out as the charity revealed almost 640,000 people reached out to Samaritans Ireland for help in the past 12 months.
Samaritans Ireland's Impact Report was launched yesterday and it also showed that almost two thirds of calls it received were outside office hours.
"The fact that most calls for help are received outside of office hours shows that Samaritans provides a vital support for people in distress when other services and sources of support may not be available," Ms Toner said.
"Over 450 people in Ireland take their lives each year."
She said that more needed to be done at a local level to tackle suicide.
"Action needs to take place at a local level to ensure that people and communities at risk can access the support they need," said Ms Toner.
"We are calling on the Government to make suicide reduction a priority and in particular to ensure that local action plans on suicide, which address the needs of communities, are in place across the country and that people can access appropriate crisis support 24/7."
Mental Health and Older People Minister Helen McEntee praised the hard work undertaken by Samaritans Ireland volunteers.
"I want to acknowledge the tremendous work being delivered by volunteers," she said.
"As we approach the Christmas holidays, I know Samaritans volunteers are scheduling round-the-clock shifts to make sure they are available to those who need emotional support."