Funding announced for a new out of hours counselling service for homeless people

Funding has been announced for a new out of hours counselling service for homeless people.

The funds from The National Office For Suicide Prevention will allow Dublin Simon to expand its ‘Sure Steps’ service which currently operates from Monday to Friday.

Research shows that people who are homeless are at a greater risk of self-harm and suicide ideation, and Dublin Simon has found that targeted measures can reduce these types of thoughts and behaviours.

The report, “Opening the Door to Hope”, was launched by the Dublin Simon Community today, and identifies ways to support people who expressed suicidal ideation, found that targeted measures reduced the frequency of suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Derek Dempsey, manager of Dublin Simon Community’s Sure Steps Counselling Service outlined the importance of out of hours support and interventions:

“The aim of our pilot was to identify ways to support people who expressed suicidal ideation with suitable, well established and proven interventions. In particular, we aimed to provide an alternative intervention to A&E for people in a crisis situation.

“The report identified, across all participants, a range of common factors found to influence suicidal presentations such as psychological pain, stress, agitation, hopelessness, self-hate and being homeless.

“We evaluated the implementation and effectiveness of the CAMS Approach (Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality) across a number of Dublin Simon Community’s homeless services.

''On completion of the pilot, we found there was a reduction in these contributing factors as well as a reduction in the frequency of suicidal thoughts and behaviours.”

Speaking at the launch today, John Meehan, Head of National Office for Suicide Prevention, announced funding for a ‘Homeless Specific Out of Hours Counselling Service’.

“We know that severe mental health difficulties are more prevalent among homeless people than the general population, with ample research and data to show that people who are homeless are at a greater risk of self-harm and suicide ideation.

''Our national strategy to reduce suicide in Ireland, Connecting for Life, reflects this in its targeted objectives and actions.

The rate of self-harm presenting to hospital emergency departments between 2010 and 2014 was 22 times higher among the homeless population compared with those living at a fixed residence.

''However, despite this, we know from research that varied interventions across community and acute settings provide the best support for people who are homeless. Through their work in Sure Steps Counselling and the CAMS pilot, Dublin Simon Community highlighted how their approach and model can help those in crisis,” he said.

- Digital Desk


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