9th April 2008
Focus on listening to young people's perspective on mental health
The Health Service Executive (HSE) National Office for Suicide Prevention held its third annual Suicide Prevention Forum at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, today, 9th April 2008. The forum was addressed by Dr. Jimmy Devins T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Disability and Mental Health. A large number of people involved in the area of suicide prevention and mental health promotion attended the forum which allowed an opportunity to reveal research findings, discuss suicide prevention initiatives and reflect on the work carried out to date in this area.
The theme of this year's forum, Listening to Young People's Perspectives on Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, is particularly significant as research shows that Ireland has the fifth highest rate of youth suicide in Europe with men under the age of 35 accounting for 40% of all suicides.
In order to explore young people's experiences and viewpoints on mental health, representatives from a range of youth groups including; Foroige, Dail na nOg, Bodywhyse, Young Social Innovators, SpunOut and BelongTo attended the forum, while a presentation entitled "Feeling Low Let Someone Know," was given by students from St Joseph's Secondary School, Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath. This was followed by roundtable consultation and a questions and answers session in which young people answered queries put to them by delegates from the floor.
The forum also provided an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the HSE National Office for Suicide Preventions during the last twelve months including;
- The roll out of the national mental health awareness campaign last October. An evaluation of the programme is due for publications in the coming weeks;
- The training of almost 100 ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) personnel who have in turn trained over 5,000 professionals and community leaders;
- Improved connection between local and national organisations. The National Office of Suicide Prevention now provides funding for fourteen national bodies for research, education, prevention and service provision;
- Finalisation of the review of services for the those bereaved by suicide;
- Specialist response services are now in place in many of the country's A&E Departments for those who present following deliberate self harm;
Mr Geoff Day, Head of the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention said: "I am pleased with the progress we have made to date, however it is essential that all efforts in this area continue to be co-ordinated in a systematic fashion in order to best address the current unacceptably high level of suicide. This forum enables all people to share in the work of the National Office of Suicide Prevention, consider some recent research and discuss some of the initiatives to be pursued. I am hopeful that an opportunity for all involved in the area of suicide prevention to learn and share relevant information will assist in dealing with this serious problem."
This forum was recommended in "Reach Out- A National Strategy for Action on Suicide," published in September 2005. For more information see www.nosp.ie
For further information
HSE Press Office
Last updated on: 09 / 04 / 2008