Mental health supports ‘just a phone call or text away’

Sinéad Glennon, head of mental health services, Cork & Kerry HSE, Lord Mayor Cllr Mick Finn and Martin Ryan, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare resource officer for suicide prevention, at the launch of a new publication outlining health supports. Picture: Gerard McCarthy

Mental health supports and recovery options are just a phone call or a text away.

That was the message from the HSE’s suicide prevention officer for Cork and Kerry, Martin Ryan, at the launch of a booklet yesterday outlining the wide range of help that is available.

The Youth Mental Health Resource booklet is designed for young people, aged between 15 and 25, to provide information that is direct, accessible, clear and youth-friendly.

Mr Ryan said when he works with schools, teachers and parents, often in the wake of a tragedy, he is asked what services were available for young people.

“This booklet brings together that information in a format that is accessible to all. We hope it will also be a useful resource for adults and those working with young people in their everyday work.”

But it is also hoped it will help broaden the discussion about what mental health is, and help promote positive mental health.

“Mental health isn’t just about suicide, it isn’t just about self-harm, it isn’t about a crisis — positive mental health is about all of us and the focus of this booklet is to broaden out that conversation,” Mr Ryan said.

“This booklet aims to provide an opportunity to broaden the conversation around how we look after ourselves.

“This isn’t going to solve any crisis. This is about ensuring that people have the right information.”

The booklet is based on information gathered by Kinsale Youth Support Services (KYSS) which has been promoting mental health supports for several years. It explains what mental health is, how to spot symptoms of poor mental health and deals with areas such as depression, anxiety, relationships and sexuality, bullying and abuse, self-harm and suicide, drugs, alcohol and grief.

It also sets out where people can go to access help and support, including Jigsaw, CAMHS, and the Youth Health Service up to and including Pieta House and the Samaritans.

A key part of the Connecting for Life Cork suicide and self-harm reduction plan for the city and county, it was launched in Cork City Hall by Lord Mayor Cllr Mick Finn.

Mr Finn, who convened a special multi-agency suicide summit in City Hall in December 2016 following a number of suspected youth suicides on the southside of the city, said it’s really important now the information is disseminated.

“I encourage all youth groups and organisations, as well as all secondary schools in the city and county, to ensure this information gets to its target population,” he said.

The booklet will be available online at www.connectingforlifecork.ie or directly from Mr Ryan by emailing martin.ryan8@hse.ie.

CSO figures show 437 people, of which 350 were men, died by suicide in 2016; 425 in 2015, 560 in 2014 and 545 in 2013.

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