Today (December 6th) the newly revised Family Resource Centre(FRC) National Mental Health Promotion Project Suicide Prevention Code of Practice was launched in Ballinfoile Castlegar Neighbourhood Centre.
The updated code by the FRC, one of Ireland's largest family support networks helping families and communities struggling with mental health issues, was initially developed in Galway and Mayo in 2011 and now operates nationally.
The code of practice offers a structured protocol of support to those that present to family resource centres with suicidal ideation.
This work assists staff and volunteers within FRCs who face growing demand on mental health support services and suicide prevention.
The FRC programme's remit is to deliver universal services to families in disadvantaged areas across the 120 communities, based on a life-cycle approach.
The programme emphasises involving local communities in tackling the problems they face, and creating successful partnerships between voluntary and statutory agencies at community level.
The aim of the FRC programme is to combat disadvantage and improve the functioning of families through empowerment and support.
The project, which is funded by the National Office for Suicide Prevention and Tusla, promotes a shared responsibility and a shared response to the action of suicide and endeavours to raise awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental health.
Since the mainstreaming of the National FRC Mental Health Promotion Project in 2014, over 200 staff and volunteers nationally have received Suicide Prevention Code of Practice training.
Each day hundreds of vulnerable people use the supports of FRCs, with 18,000 people in contact with the services between 2014 and 2017 identified as having a mental health need.
In those years over 43,000 people have been informed about mental health services and 879 people who expressed suicidal ideation have been signposted to relevant mental health supports using the Suicide Prevention Code of Practice (SPEAK, 2017).
FRCs will remain to be the first point of call for many people in distress, and having skilled staff in the area of suicide prevention ensures those vulnerable people will to be supported and many lives will continued to be potentially saved.