of September at the Vestry, St Conals, Letterkenny, Mr John Meehan, Director of the National Office for Suicide Prevention launched three new suicide prevention resources as part of World Suicide Prevention Week.
2. GP Patient Pathway for those experiencing a suicidal crisis.
3. Family Information Pack to be issued when a loved one is admitted to the acute psychiatric unit.
These resources are the latest developments from the Connecting for Life Donegal suicide prevention action plan, aimed at promoting awareness of suicide risk within the county. Connecting for Life Donegal was launched in 2015 and since then there has been a huge commitment from the health and other statutory organisations and the community and voluntary sector to lead on and support the implementation of actions.
During the development of Connecting for Life Donegal an extensive public consultation process took place which highlighted a lack of information about support services among individuals in distress and their families. In response a poster has been developed which outlines key services and contact numbers available in a mental health crisis. This will be publicly available across the county in a range of settings including GP and other health settings, workplaces and a variety of other public and social venues. An online version has already been distributed through the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. An Irish version of the poster is also available. The public is encouraged to ‘take a photo’ of the poster so that the information is close to hand should they or someone they are concerned about ever need it.
GPs are often the first point of contact for individuals in distress. In collaboration with the mental health service, GPs and the Emergency Department in Letterkenny University Hospital, the ‘Managing Suicide Risk in General Practice’ resource has been developed. This pathway provides a structured guide for GPs to ensure that individuals, depending on their level of suicide risk, are directed to the most appropriate service. The pathway will be distributed to every GP in the county immediately.
Consultation with families bereaved by suicide (as part of a study conducted by the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF)) highlighted the need for additional information and support during times of a mental health crisis including admission to the psychiatric inpatient unit. Speaking at the launch Dr Collette Cory, NSRF discussed the development of a Family Information Pack stating “This Pack addresses the important issues and questions which family members may have on admission of a loved one to the acute inpatient unit, such as how to explain mental health problems to children and how to support a family member following discharge from the acute inpatient unit. This pack will be given to family members following admission of a family member to the inpatient unit. We are hopeful that it will prove to be an invaluable resource to family members”.
The launch was attended by a number of HSE staff as well as representatives from voluntary organisations.