Working life: Martin Ryan, HSE suicide prevention officer

Martin Ryan

With an eight-year-old son, the day usually gets underway with the kind of question kids specialise in — why is the sky blue etc.


We tease out the answer over breakfast. He’s on school holidays so I plan ahead to make sure he’s catered for while I am at work.


At my office in Glanmire, Cork, I work through emails and reply to queries from youth organisations, parents and young people related to the areas of self harm and suicide.

I regularly link in with youth organisations in the area of mental health. 

I am very involved in supporting the #littlethings campaign which focuses on the simple steps that can make a big difference to how we feel, like eating and sleeping well, regular exercise, drinking less alcohol and talking about our problems.

It’s an integrated campaign driven by the HSE and with over 30 partner organisations, including the GAA.


From noon onwards, I’m out meeting community groups, sporting organisations, visiting schools, talking to members of the business community about the importance of promoting positive mental health.

I recently linked in with the board of Cork City Football Club and they agreed to promote the #littlethings campaign on the back of match programmes.


I grab a coffee and people watch for half an hour or meet up with a friend.


I’m working on a local area action plan to reduce suicide rates by 10% in Cork city and county over the next five years.

This work is being replicated all over the country as part of the National Strategy on Suicide and Self-Harm.

It involves canvassing stakeholders for opinions on how best to reduce suicide rates and promote good mental health.


I visit a school to talk to teachers about how #littlethings can be a positive force and about the importance of preventative strategies for self harm and suicide.

#littlethings is a good vehicle for normalising conversation around mental health.


At home, my dogs Reilly and Merlin force me out for a walk. My young lad (Harry) usually accompanies me and asks another 10 questions that I can’t answer! 

Then it’s on to the next episode of a box set with my wife Hilary.

  • Martin Ryan is a suicide prevention officer with the HSE.


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