More suicide-prevention support urged

 

A suicide-prevention organisation has today called on the Government to implement key recommendations from its 2006 Vision for Change Reportand provide better community-based emotional and wellness supports to help prevent suicide.

Suicide or Survive, which provides services and supports aimed at suicide prevention, said a greater focus on preventing suicide is now necessary due to the economic recession, which has led to greater unemployment and the fall in people's living standards.

The organisation warned that those who attempt suicide require vital education and support to restore their sense of belonging so that they can decide not to take their lives.

Suicide or Survive founder Caroline McGuigan said: “People become survivors when they have the appropriate support to enable them to recover and turn their lives around. We need more suicide-prevention measures that allow people who are at risk of suicide to receive rapid support to allow them reconsider.

"Then they will need time and support to reflect and explore their feelings along with education to give them practical advice and problem-solving skills so they can become empowered again."

The Vision for Change Report, produced by an expert group on mental health policy, recommended the creation of protocols and guidelines for engaging with those assessed to be at high risk; that particular care be given to those using mental health services who have been identified as being at high risk; and the co-ordination of statutory, research, voluntary, and community activities to ensure suicide-prevention in the wider community.

According to Suicide or Survive, 80 per cent of people who attempt suicide try to talk to someone about the idea in the weeks prior to doing so. To mark World Suicide Prevention Day tomorrow, it issued a number of guidelines and what to do if somebody reveals such intentions.

The organisation recommends that people work with those exhibiting suicidal behaviour to make a plan with them on addressing the issue, tell them they must work together to build up a support network; advise the person to go to see their doctor or other mental-health supports they may already have - and offer to accompany them; and agree a crisis plan should the person become distressed and wish to break the agreement made.

Suicide or Survive also advises those offering help to seek confidential counselling if they feel distressed.

World Suicide Prevention Day seeks to promote global commitment and action to prevent suicides. According to the World Health Organisation, which co-sponsors the day, almost 3,000 people take their lives daily, and for every person who does so 20 or more may attempt to end their lives.

A number of events will take place to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, including a series of candlelit vigils in Dublin, Galway and Wexford.

* Suicide or Survive (SoS) can be contacted at 1890 577 577 or at info@suicideorsurvive.ie. www. suicideorsurvive.ie

* For additional support, contact the Samaritans (1850-609090), e-mail jo@samaritans.org, or tel: Aware 1890-303302, Mon-Wed 10am-10pm; Thurs-Sun 10am-1am

* For further information, contact Turning the Tide on Suicide at 01-6615525, www.3ts.ie; National Office of Suicide Prevention 01-6352139 or 01-6352179; Action on Suicide www.actiononsuicide.ie