Press Release

Ministers launches Northern Ireland self-harm registry pilot. Devins “Suicide respects no boundaries – geographical or policical”

Mr Jimmy Devins, T.D., Minister for State at the Department of Health and Children was speaking today (Friday 5th October 2007) following a meeting with Minister Harney and Minister McGimpsey, Minister for Health in Northern Ireland.

The Minister said he “acknowledged the importance and value of adopting an all island approach in creating awareness of suicide and collaborating in the area of suicide prevention”. He added “A concerted approach is needed if we are to prevent the further tragic loss of life”.

During the meeting, both Ministers McGimpsey and Devins announced the launch of a new Deliberate Self-Harm Registry pilot scheme in the Western Health & Social Services Board Area of Northern Ireland. A National Registry of Deliberate Self-Harm has been operating in general hospitals in the Republic of Ireland since 2001. The registry pilot in Northern Ireland will help identify trends of self-harm across the island, which will help target resources more effectively. “This is just one tangible example of how we can learn from each other in this area” said Minister McGimpsey.

Both Ministers acknowledged the need for a sustained public information campaign to increase awareness of suicide and to promote positive mental health and said that they were pleased to be launching an all island awareness campaign on 9th October next.

Both Minister Devins and Minister McGimpsey commended the media on their cooperation in adhering to guidelines governing coverage and portrayal of suicide/mental health. The Ministers also discussed the role of the internet. Minister Devins referred to the recent announcement by the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform regarding the establishment of an Office for Internet Safety and an Internet Advisory Council.

Minister Harney said: “The meeting has identified a range of health issues where it makes sense for the two jurisdictions to co-operate in the interests of people north and south and to build on the existing cross-border co-operation in place”. Examples of collaborative approaches currently under way include an initiative to improve access to cancer services for people in Donegal and ongoing work to develop a partnership approach to the care of children with heart disease.

The three Ministers affirmed that it is important to build on these links and share best practice and learning so that people on both sides of the border have access to high quality healthcare.”