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Suicide prevention strategy

Suicide prevention strategy beyond 2020

In November 2020, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD and the Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD, announced the extension of Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide, to 2024. You can read this announcement here

The extension of Connecting for Life now provides an opportunity to further advance and embed many already-established local Connecting for Life implementation structures throughout the country. The 17 local Connecting for Life Action Plans that are already in place, will in turn be extended and updated to reflect a new national implementation plan.

National implementation structures, most notably the National Cross Sectoral Steering and Implementation Group, will continue to coordinate different government departments and (departmental) strategies. The HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) remains the named provider of cross-sectoral support for implementation of Connecting for Life. 

The NOSP has now published a new and responsive implementation plan for 2020 to 2022, which is rooted in the principle of learning from previous experience of implementation to date. Specifically, this plan has been informed by the findings of the 2019 independent Interim Strategy Review of the implementation of the strategy, and consistent consultation with implementation partners, stakeholders and government departments. 

Suicide prevention strategy 2015-2020

Connecting for Life involves preventive and awareness-raising work with the population as a whole, supportive work with local communities and targeted approaches for priority groups. The strategy proposes high-quality standards of practice across service delivery areas, and an underpinning evaluation and research framework. This wide reach presents unique implementation challenges. The whole-of-government, multi-agency, inter-professional, expert-by-experience, local/national focuses will involve multiple stakeholders across and between levels of government and governance.

The implementation of Connecting for Life during this period, was guided by;

Suicide prevention strategy up to 2014

Suicide prevention in Ireland up to 2014 was guided by Reach Out, the first national suicide prevention strategy. Reach Out brought a focus on suicide prevention work and guided activities in this area in Ireland from 2005 to 2014. Reach Out set out a vision and guiding principles for suicide prevention in Ireland. It outlined 96 actions and identified lead agencies. Since the launch of Reach Out, there have been significant developments in the areas of research, policy and service delivery relating to suicide prevention, including:

  • National and international research into suicidal behaviour and an improved understanding of the evidence base for suicide prevention.
  • A stronger and far-reaching working relationship with a wide range of non-statutory and community partners, underpinned by a focus on hope, belief, recovery and commitment.
  • A range of public policies within and beyond the health services that either deal directly with suicide prevention or have the potential to impact positively in terms of reducing suicidal behaviour and improving the wellbeing of the population.
  • Increased public awareness of suicide prevention and mental health.

More information on Connecting for Life