Press Release

Minister Attends the First Meeting of the National Forum on Suicide Prevention

The Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Tim O’Malley TD, today (Tuesday 14th March) addressed the first meeting of the National Forum on Suicide Prevention organised by The National Office for Suicide Prevention.

Minister O’Malley indicated that the setting up of this Forum was recommended in the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention 2005-2014 – Reach Out, which was launched in September last by the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, T.D. “The purpose of this Forum is to bring together a diverse range of organisations and individuals that not only contributed to the development of the “Reach Out” Strategy but will support its implementation over the coming years. This Forum will provide an opportunity for the exchange of views on developments in suicide research and prevention” said Minister O’Malley.

Minister O’Malley said that “A fundamental aim of the new Strategy is to prevent suicidal behaviour, including deliberate self-harm, and to increase awareness of the importance of good mental health among the general population. The Strategy identifies expected outcomes and sets targets which can be measured, monitored and revised. Continuous quality control and ongoing modification and improvement of the strategy will be central to its implementation”.

The National Office for Suicide Prevention was established as a response to one of the actions in the National Strategy. This Office is responsible for:

  • Ensuring the implementation of the actions set out in Reach Out.
  • Coordinating suicide prevention activities across the country.
  • Disseminating research and best practice and where necessary commissioning and supporting new research.
  • Consulting with those working to reduce suicide and those responding to suicide, to ensure their voice is heard in planning future suicide prevention initiatives.

The Minister noted that the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy in A Vision for Change published in January this year recommended that the strategies recommended in Reach Out should be adopted and implemented nationally.

Minister O’Malley reiterated that the Government shares the public concern about the levels of suicide in this country. He said that “We all have our part to play in helping those who may experience and face adverse events in life, and emotions and feelings so strong that they consider taking their own lives. We must aim to provide accessible, sensitive, appropriate and, where required, intensive support in a more comprehensive co-ordinated and cohesive manner”.

The Minister also indicated that contacts are taking place between his Department and the Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and between the National Office for Suicide Prevention and the Health Promotion Agency in Northern Ireland to explore issues on suicide prevention which could be jointly actioned.