Area Level Implementation of CfL Survey (Dec 2017)

Area-level Implementation of Connecting for Life

Findings of a Survey - December 2017

This paper summarises the findings from a survey of key stakeholders involved in Connecting for Life area-level suicide prevention strategic action planning.


Strategic Goal 2 of Connecting for Life (CfL), Ireland’s national, coordinated, multifaceted strategy to reduce deaths by suicide and self-harm 2015-2020, focuses on improving local communities’ capacity to prevent and respond to suicide. Fundamental to this goal is the design and implementation of multi-agency suicide prevention action plans at an area level, aligned with the national strategy (CfL Action 2.1.1). The Connecting for Life Donegal Action Plan was the first area-level CfL suicide prevention action plan to be completed (in 2015); the strategic planning processes applied in Donegal have been replicated and/or adapted to the varying contexts across the country over the subsequent 24 months.

In July 2017 the Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Team in the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP), as part of the evaluation of the implementation of CfL, invited all stakeholders involved in CfL area-level planning/steering groups to take part in a survey and share their reflection on the process to date.  This document summarises the key findings from this survey.

Key Points

  • Over a two year period (2015-2017) the CfL area level suicide prevention action planning process has mobilised more than 500 stakeholders across multiple sectors, throughout the country, to focus on building communities’ capacity to prevent and respond to suicidal behaviour.
  • In June 2017 all key stakeholders (n=336) involved in the CfL area-level planning/steering groups (n=17) were invited to take part in a survey and share their reflections on the process to date. The planning/ steering groups were at different stages in the development of the area-level action plans e.g.  7 groups had completed the process and had a published plan, while 10 groups were actively engaged in the planning process. The response rate was acceptable at 43% (n=145).
  • The evidence  indicates that area-level CfL strategic planning groups (while varying in scale and composition) were very effective in engaging a broad range of stakeholders and the strategic planning processes were well managed, with active, meaningful stakeholder participation. To this end, they have helped to secure buy-in and support for the work of suicide prevention across the country, and have laid the foundations for effective implementation of the national strategy at an area-level.
  • There is also preliminary evidence of increased collaborative working (at an area-level) as a consequence of the CfL planning processes.
  • While most respondents had confidence in their (emerging) area level CfL action plan (seeing it as realistic & achievable) approximately two thirds of respondents (64%) were of the opinion that sufficient resources were ‘not available or only somewhat available’ to implement the plan.

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