The HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) 2018 Annual Report was launched this afternoon by Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD in The Richmond Education and Event Centre in Dublin.
This Annual Report provides highlights of the NOSPs work in 2018 including developments related to the ongoing implementation of Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020.
Speaking about the launch of the report, Minister Daly said:
"...suicide prevention is a priority for this Government, and the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) plays an invaluable role in furthering work on suicide prevention and awareness, including the driving forward of Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020. The 2018 Annual Report highlights the important work of the NOSP, such as the launch of five local-level Connecting for Life action plans (for a total of 17), which ensures that the national strategy is operating nationwide. Since 2012, the Department of Health has supported NOSP by increasing its budget significantly, from €5m in 2012 to about €13m today. The Government will continue to support the NOSP in its work on suicide prevention into the future."
At the launch, Mr John Meehan (HSE Assistant National Director, Mental Health Strategy & Planning and Head of NOSP) said:
“The HSE is pleased to present this Annual Report for the NOSP, which reminds us of the abundance of improvement initiatives underway across our health services, and within the community and voluntary sector. This report captures some of the highlights of suicide prevention services, projects and campaigns aligned with Connecting for Life, our national strategy. There remains a very firm commitment to, and investment from, the HSE to realise the vision of the strategy - of an Ireland where fewer lives are lost to suicide”.
A key focal point at the launch was the improved provision of free, evidence-informed suicide and self-harm training in communities nationwide.
In 2018, almost 13,000 individuals completed programmes such as safeTALK, ASIST, STORM and Understanding Self-Harm. The completion of safeTALK and ASIST training is now a requirement of the BA in Applied Policing for all Garda Trainees in the Foundation Programme at Templemore Training College.
Other key developments from 2018, that are showcased in the report include;
- The publication of 5 local Connecting for Life Action Plans – the last of 17 to be developed nationally. These local plans are all strongly aligned to the national strategy, articulating local implementation of national actions, and committing to actions that respond to particular local needs, strengths and challenges.
- The commencement of an Interim Strategy Review of Connecting for Life - to identify potential for improvements and to provide actionable, realistic, results-orientated recommendations to drive the work associated with the strategy to 2020, and beyond.
- The allocation of funding to NOSP, of almost €12m. This is a significant increase in investment - the NOSP budget in 2012, was €5.2m. In 2018, the NOSP invested almost €7m of this in agencies and front-line services making coordinated efforts to meet Connecting for Life objectives and actions, across seven overarching strategic goals. This was an increased investment, of +11% on the year previous and is reflective of the number and high quality of suicide prevention initiatives aligned with Connecting for Life, that are underway nationally. Many of these initiatives, led by local Resource Officers for Suicide Prevention (of which there are over 20 nationwide), or by funded agencies (such as Pieta House, Samaritans, BeLonG To, Aware and Exchange House), are outlined in the Annual Report.