Today is World Suicide Prevention Day
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on Policy-Makers to ‘embrace the increased public dialogue about suicide’ and introduce national plans to tackle the issue.
WHO released a landmark report yesterday on suicide prevention, The report detailed how out of the 90 countries surveyed, 41 had no national strategy or action plan to tackle the issue of suicide. In 28, a far-reaching national strategy had been developed.
Ireland has had its own national plan for suicide prevention since 2005, known as Reach Out. The National Office for Suicide Prevention, which is part of the HSE, was formed to oversee this suicide prevention strategy and to coordinate suicide prevention initiatives around Ireland. The current plan comes to an end this year, and submissions have now been called for on the next stage of this – National Framework for Suicide Prevention, which will run from 2015 to 2018.
The WHO report singles out one element of Ireland’s action plan for special mention – the National Registry of Deliberate Self-Harm. Its main aims include establishing the extent and nature of hospital-treated deliberate self harm in Ireland, and to monitor these trends.
Internationally WHO recommends that a plan would involve these actions:
- Engage key stakeholders
- Reduce access to means
- Conduct surveillance and improve data quality
- Raise awareness
- Engage the media
- Mobilise the health system and train health workers
- Change attitudes and beliefs
- Conduct evaluation and research
- Develop and implement a comprehensive national suicide prevention strategy
Pieta House announced details of its suicide awareness campaign today to raise awareness of suicide prevention. The campaign is part of Pieta House’s ‘Mind Your Buddy‘ strategy, launched earlier this year. It calls on the general public to take suicide prevention into its own hands by tackling suicidal ideation amongst friends and family members through the process of APR (Ask Persuade and Refer), the mental equivalent of CPR.
Pieta House recommends that APR is administered on friends and family members in crisis to save lives as follows:
- Ask – your friend how s/he is feeling and if s/he is suicidal
- Persuade – your friend to seek help
- Refer – your friend to a qualified counsellor
The campaign identifies the following signs that your friend could be in crisis:
- They may stop using their mobiles or may have their mobiles turned off all the time
- They may say things such as ‘I don’t see the point anymore’, I feel like ending it all’ or ‘I see no future’
- There may be an increase of self-imposed isolation. They may stop socialising or may drop out of sporting activities
- They may suddenly become aggressive, picking fights, inappropriate arguments – especially when under the influence of alcohol
Joan Freeman, CEO, Pieta House said:
“A common misconception is that suicidal people are suffering from depression and this is generally not the case. The majority of suicides are caused by many complex socio-cultural factors and are more likely to occur in periods of socioeconomic, family and individual crisis situations such as relationship break-ups or death of a loved one. Over 500 people die annually by suicide in Ireland. This is more people than die on Irish roads. Just like road safety, I believe that the majority of these deaths can be prevented by raising awareness of the causes”
Pieta House is asking Irish men to help reduce the risk of male suicide in Ireland by Minding Your Buddy in the following ways:
- Be inclusive: Include your friend in all your social/sporting activities. He needs to be distracted. Physical activities will not only distract him but will also lift his spirit.
- Be insistent: Don’t take no for an answer. If he won’t come out, then stay in with him. This level of care for your friend need only last for a few weeks until he gets over the initial crisis.
- Be not afraid: You are not alone! Gather an army around you to help you help your friend. He has other friends, involve his family. Do not keep this to yourself. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to reach out so that you can ‘mind your buddy’.
If you are feeling in anyway suicidal, please contact one of these organisations:
Samaritans 116 123 or email email@example.com
Aware 1890 303 302 (depression anxiety)
Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – (suicide, self-harm, bereavement)
Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)