National office urges people to have ‘healthy scepticism’ to services as sector unregulated
The National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) is advising people to use trusted suicide prevention services.
The office provides funding to more than 30 organisations working to promote positive mental health and reduce suicide and self-harm.
NOSP director Gerry Raleigh urged people to have a “healthy scepticism” and to go only to trusted suicide prevention services.
Mr Raleigh said the office could only recommend the organisations it funded because it was familiar with the work and quality of the services provided. Because counselling in Ireland was largely unregulated, the office wanted to make sure that the organisations it funded had staff who were properly trained.
The office has almost €9m to spend this year and two-thirds will be spent on statutory services and organisations.
It will also provide training for more than 10,000 people in internationally recognised suicide prevention programmes that are offered free of charge.
It is estimated that one in 100 adults in Ireland has received suicide prevention training provided by NOSP.
Next month, the office, together with the Samaritans, will launch a new free-call number that will make it easier for people going through tough times to get the help they need.
Mr Raleigh said people calling the number could have confidence that the person who answered the phone would be able to deal with their concerns.
NOSP will launch new free-call number, in March with Samaritans to simplify the signposting to services, + new social marketing campaign— June Shannon (@juneshannon) February 19, 2014
Mr Raleigh said providing one free-call contact number for accessing suicide prevention support would help reduce confusion that might exist with so many support organisations.
An online portal providing easily accessible and accurate information and a national social marketing campaign will be launched in the autumn.
The number of suicide prevention resource officers around the country will be increased from 10 to 16.
Last year the office, in partnership with the Irish College of General Practitioners, developed an online training programme for GPs and primary care staff and, to date, over 200 GPs have accessed the programme.
Mr Raleigh said every week 10 people died as a result of suicide and reducing the incidence required efforts at every level in society and in every community. “When someone takes their own life, the effect on their family, friends and community is devastating.”
He said national and international research had shown that reducing the incident of suicide required that efforts had to be made at every level in society and in every community.
“There is a wide array of work underway across the country supported by the NOSP to promote positive mental health and reduce suicide and self-harm — as a partnership approach is the only way forward,” he said.
The office, part of the HSE, was established in 2005 with an initial budget of €500,000, to oversee the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Reach Out – a 10-year action plan to prevent suicide.
Staff at the office, based in the HSE mental health division, increased from four in 2012 to 11.
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