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Launch of Local Action Plan, Midlands Louth Meath

The Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health Jim Daly TD today (Wednesday, 24th October) launchedConnecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath - a new suicide prevention and self-harm action plan for the area, which is the local implementation of Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020.

Mental Health Services in the Midlands Louth Meath Community Healthcare Organisation have taken a lead role in working with partner agencies to develop the Connecting for Life Suicide Prevention Action Plan for the six county area.

The development of the plan has been supported by a public consultation process involving members of the public, members of priority focus groups and staff working in statutory organisations and community groups who are affected by issues relating to suicide, self-harm and mental health difficulties.

CfL MLM launch 2

Pictured are Siobhán Mc Ardle, Head of Mental Health Services, Midlands Louth Meath CHO, Eddie Ward, Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention, Longford/Westmeath, John Meehan, John Meehan, Assistant National Director and the Lead for the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention, Sandra Okome, Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention, Louth/Meath and Josephine Rigney, Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention, Laois/Offaly. 

Connecting for Life, sets out a vision where fewer lives are lost through suicide, and where communities and individuals are empowered to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Speaking at the Official Launch of Connecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath in the Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar, County Westmeath today, Minister Daly said: “Local, multi-agency suicide prevention plans ensure that national goals and objectives are translated to a local level and local views are represented. These plans are key to building community capacity to prevent and respond to suicide. This Midlands Louth Meath suicide prevention action plan sets out a roadmap to address suicide and self-harm. It is important that we all continue to work together, at all levels, to identify people at risk and to ensure that appropriate services are in place to provide the help and support needed. There has been a very collaborative process here in Midlands Louth Meath and I would like to congratulate all those involved.”

Also addressing the launch, Siobhán McArdle, Head of Mental Health Services Midlands Louth Meath CHO said: “This plan is founded upon meaningful engagement with all key stakeholders. It is clear that the voice of the community has informed the overall aim of the plan to create a supportive living environment where good, timely and informed intervention is the norm. Connecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath has been developed to ensure our local actions and outcomes are aligned with and responsive to the national strategy. Local implementation that includes empowering communities is a core component of the Connecting for Life strategy.”

CfL MLM launch

Pictured are Anna Lee Dowlilng, Laois Laois Comhairle Na nÓg, Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health Jim Daly TD, Siobhán Mc Ardle, Head of Mental Health Services, Midlands Louth Meath CHO and Kayla Gray, Laois Comhairle Na nÓg. 

John Meehan, Assistant National Director and the Lead for the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention, told the audience at the launch: “The evidence shows that with the right help, support or intervention at many different stages, suicide is preventable. However, the evidence also shows us that no single intervention alone will prevent suicide. We need the collective impact of a number of strategies in place – at a population-based, community-based and individual level. The realisation of this relies upon us all to provide a united approach. Local, multi-agency suicide prevention plans ensure that national goals and objectives are translated to a local level and that local views are represented. These plans are key to building community capacity to prevent and respond to suicide.”

Pat Bennett, Chief Officer, Midlands Louth Meath CHO, stated that “Suicide prevention is the responsibility of everyone in society. Many suicides may be preventable, and for national strategies and local action plans to be effective, a comprehensive multi-sectoral approach is needed. Connecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath is a three-year plan, grounded in an approach that recognises the contributions that can be made across all sections of our community. The plan sets out a vision for suicide prevention across all counties in the Community Health Organisation area, and outlines the actions that will be taken to achieve the vision.”

CfL MLM launch 1

Pictured are Josephine Rigney, Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention, Laois/Offaly, Eddie Ward, Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention, Longford/Westmeath, John Dolan, Chairman, Westmeath County Council, Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health Jim Daly TD, Siobhán Mc Ardle, Head of Mental Health Services, Midlands Louth Meath CHO, Sgt Alison McDade, John Meehan, Assistant National Director and the Lead for the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention, Superintendent Alan Murray, Mullingar Garda Síochána and Sandra Okome, Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention, Louth/Meath. 

Connecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath is a live, dynamic and flexible plan spanning the years 2018-2020. A multi-agency Implementation Steering Group will be established to support the implementation of the plan. This approach will generate outcomes that otherwise may not be achievable when working in isolation and is also a more effective and efficient use of resources. 

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