Dáil Éireann - Volume 620 - 30 May, 2006

Written Answers. - Suicide Prevention.

Mr. O’Connor asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her Department’s plans to introduce a special action plan dealing with suicide; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20685/06]

  Mr. T. O’Malley: “Reach Out” — A National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention was launched by the Tánaiste on 8th September 2005. This Strategy builds on the work of the National Task Force on Suicide (1998) and takes account of the efforts and initiatives developed by the former health boards and voluntary sector in recent years. In the course of the development of the Strategy, wide-ranging consultation took place throughout the country to draw on the experience, perspectives and ideas of the key stakeholders and interested parties. I [1217] believe that this consultation process, combined with continuous monitoring of evidence and best practice has allowed for both an evidence-based and pragmatic approach to be taken in order to effect real change over the next 5 to 10 years.

The Strategy takes a combined public health and high-risk approach to the issue of suicide prevention. Four levels of action comprise the main body of the Report. These can be categorised as: a general population approach, a targeted approach, responding to suicide and information and research. At each level, Action Areas have been identified (26 in total) and specific points of action have been identified to be implemented in three phases over the coming years.

The National Office for Suicide Prevention was established by the Health Service Executive in September 2005 immediately following the publication of “Reach Out”. This office oversees the implementation of the Strategy. This includes coordinating suicide prevention activities across the State, consulting widely in relation to the planning of future initiatives and ensuring best practice in suicide prevention.

In addition to existing funding, a further €0.5m was allocated in 2005 and €1.2m in 2006 to commence the implementation of the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention.