Effective Government action absent on suicide prevention - Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has welcomed the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children report on The High Levels of Suicide in Irish Society. Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Ó Caoláin set out Sinn Féin's key proposals for suicide prevention.
He said, "I welcome the Report of the Oireachtas Committee and the continuing focus of members of the Oireachtas on the high level of suicide in Irish Society. This is a very serious issue and ranks with the appalling toll of deaths on our roads as the leading cause of deaths of young people and a source of terrible grief for individuals, families and communities.
"There is widespread concern and a greater awareness of the scale and depth of this problem, but it is sad to say that this has not been reflected in concerted and effective action by Government. That much is very clear from the Committee's Report.
"Sinn Féin has identified suicide as a distinct priority requiring concerted co-operation between Government, the health services, the voluntary sector and communities. Our youth section, Ógra Shinn Féin, has campaigned on this issue. We have also included suicide prevention as a key element in our policy 'Healthcare in an Ireland of Equals'. Our proposals are echoed in the Report we are discussing. Our key proposals are:
• To make suicide prevention an area of co-operation under the all-Ireland Ministerial Council to give the issue the strategic co-ordination it requires.
• To frame and to implement a fully resourced, comprehensive All-Ireland Suicide Prevention Strategy, including:
- Actions to promote mental health among the general population, delivered through schools, youth services, workplaces and the media.
- Mental health promotion actions targeting specific sections of the population, incorporating their diverse needs into tailored suicide prevention sub-strategies.
- Mental health promotion and suicide prevention actions targeting groups identified as higher risk for suicide
- Actions to assist individuals identified as at risk of suicide.
- Actions to assist people who are bereaved through suicide.
• Invest in further clinical and community-based research on suicide prevention.
• Develop national mental health awareness and anti-stigma campaigns to help tackle the issue of suicide.
• Include 'parasuicides', people at risk of suicide, families bereaved by suicide, and families of people at risk of suicide in policy-making on this issue." ENDS