HSE marks World Suicide Prevention Day 2017

“Take a minute, change a life”


The HSE Mental Health Division’s National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) is reminding us all on World Suicide Prevention Day how the very simple day-to-day interactions we have with others, have the potential to make a difference to someone who may be struggling or feeling vulnerable.  World Suicide Prevention Day is held each year on the 10th September.  It is an annual awareness raising event organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  This year’s theme is “Take a minute, change a life”. 


The HSE is encouraging people to think about how offering support may play a part in helping to prevent suicide.  The act of showing care and concern to someone who may be vulnerable, can make a big difference in their lives.  Asking someone whether they are OK, listening to what they have to say in a non-judgemental way, and letting them know you care, can all have a significant impact.


“I want to emphasise the importance of World Suicide Prevention Day. This year’s theme ‘Take a minute, change a life’, is about understanding and recognising that reaching out to someone can help to prevent suicide. Taking a moment to listen without judgement can make all the difference”, said Anne O’Connor, HSE National Director of Mental Health.


“In 2014, there were 486 confirmed suicide deaths in Ireland but provisional data for 2015 and 2016, suggests a decreasing trend in 2017. Every death by suicide is a tragic and devastating event that impacts on the lives of so many people.  The prevention of suicide is a challenge, which all of us have to take on board.   Connecting for Life, Ireland’s national  strategy to reduce suicide 2015-2020, aims to improve the country’s understanding of suicide, mental health and mental well-being. We are now collectively focussed on advancing the implementation of this strategy and further developing the capacity for us all to work together to reduce suicidal behaviour in Ireland.”


Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD said: “Death through suicide is devastating not only for the families but also the local community. Each suicide affects society as a whole.  Therefore, as a society we need to de-stigmatise suicide and talk more openly about its causes and its impacts and how these can be prevented. It is important to recognise that protective factors are just as important as risk factors and have been shown to improve resilience.  Suicide continues to be a priority concern of this Government and developing an implementation plan founded on the National Strategy Connecting for Life is essential to helping those at risk of suicide and self-harm. The development of local Connecting for Life plans bring together communities in much needed unity in raising awareness and supporting those affected.   Statistics are showing suicide is reducing but still too many lives are lost. World Suicide Prevention Day reminds us to watch out for each other to prevent another needless death.”


We are all part of communities which link us to friends, family, colleagues and/or neighbours.  A sense of community is very important for maintaining our mental health and  helps foster a supportive network for everyone, especially for those going through tough times.  We all have a responsibility to actively listen, to support and to empower those who become vulnerable in our communities at different times.  The HSE’s website yourmentalhealth.ie contains information and practical tips on how to ‘Take a minute, change a life’ – reach out, listen and respond to others who are going through a difficult time. Also, the HSE mental health and wellbeing campaign #littlethings, focuses on sharing evidence-based, simple and powerful day-to-day steps – little things we can do to protect our own mental health and support the people we care about.

Last updated on: 08 / 09 / 2017