Donegal becomes the first county in Ireland to develop a local suicide prevention action plan
Today Monday 13th July 2015, the Suicide Prevention Action Plan for County Donegal – ‘Connecting for Life Donegal’ was launched at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology. Donegal is the first county in Ireland to develop a local suicide prevention action plan based on the recently launched national suicide prevention strategy.
Connecting for Life Donegal has been led by the HSE but developed in partnership with a multi-agency planning group including representation from the Education sector, Donegal County Council, Gardai, GPs, Coroner Service, Tusla, Sports, people bereaved by suicide, Arts and the Youth, Community and Voluntary sector. Throughout the planning process the group has linked closely with the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) to ensure alignment with goals and objectives of the National Strategy.
Connecting for Life Donegal details the actions that various organisations including the HSE will implement over the next 5 years to realise the vision of a county where fewer lives are lost through suicide and where the communities and individuals are empowered to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Each action will have an annual target to ensure that progress is developmental and ongoing.
Over 100 people attended the launch, including representatives from all of the agencies that were involved in the action plan and people who had contributed to the consultation process. Speaking at the launch John Hayes, Chief Officer, North Western Area, Community Health Organisation HSE, explained‘There were three crucial elements in the preparation of Connecting for Life Donegal; from the outset it was essential the preparation of the local plan was fully inclusive and collaborative, and an interagency planning group was set up with membership from a wide range of statutory and community and voluntary organisations. Secondly our broad consultation process ensured that we were listening to the views of the people of Donegal and finally that we documented the whole process and prepared a manual for Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council addressed the launch stating ‘The multi-agency inclusive and collaborative approach that has worked well for us in the planning phase, will form the basis of an implementation structure which will be responsible to ensure that Connecting for Life Donegal is a priority within a broad range of organisations. The Local Economic and Community Plan which is currently being developed by Donegal County Council will further strengthen this collaborative support for implementation as Connecting For Life Donegal will be included as part of our priority to develop sustainable, inclusive and healthy communities.’
Ciaran Mc Loone, who has had the lived experience of mental health difficulties stated ‘Connecting for Life Donegal will help us all to look after our own and each others mental health and well being. Knowing how and when to help a family member, friend or even yourself in distress will help save lives and will give hope for the future for anyone experiencing difficulties’
According to Anne Sheridan, Suicide Resource Officer for the HSE who chaired today’s launch “We believe that the whole county has a role to play, and we all need to be aware of what we can do individually and as part of our community to promote mental health and reduce suicide”.