Cork North West Fine Gael General Election candidate Councillor John Paul O’Shea has encouraged people to support World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday next, September 10th by attending a local event or simply by lighting a candle on their window at 8pm on the night.
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is organised by International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), a group dedicated to preventing suicidal behaviour, alleviating its effects, and providing a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers and suicide survivors.
Cllr. O’Shea said: “Suicide prevention remains a universal challenge. Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.
“It is right that we take time to remember those that we have lost to suicide. I will be attending a special event in Charleville and many people around the country will be lighting a candle on their window in their homes at 8pm to remember loved ones lost to suicide.”
Cllr. O’Shea also acknowledged the recent launch of the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) 2018 Annual Report, which shows a steady, year-on-year decline in the number of suicides in Ireland. In 2018, the number of suicide deaths was 352, down from 392 in 2017 and 577 in 2012.
Cllr. O’Shea’s Fine Gael colleague, the Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD, commented: “Suicide prevention is a priority for this Government, and the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) plays an invaluable role in furthering work on suicide prevention and awareness, including the driving forward of Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020.
“The 2018 Annual Report highlights the important work of the NOSP, such as the launch of five local-level Connecting for Life action plans (for a total of 17), which ensures that the national strategy is operating nationwide. Since 2012, the Department of Health has supported NOSP by increasing its budget significantly, from €5m in 2012 to about €13m today. The Government will continue to support the NOSP in its work on suicide prevention into the future.”
A key focal point at the launch was the improved provision of free, evidence-informed suicide and self-harm training in communities nationwide. In 2018, almost 13,000 individuals completed programmes such as safeTALK, ASIST, STORM and Understanding Self-Harm. The completion of safeTALK and ASIST training is now a requirement of the BA in Applied Policing for all Garda Trainees in the Foundation Programme at Templemore Training College.