Adams hosts Suicide Prevention groups in the Dáil

DSC_3254_6510Gerry Adams invited Louth based SOSAD and Dublin’s Southwest Inner City Network into the Dáil last Wednesday 13th July Louth to brief Sinn Féin on the issue of suicide and mental health provision in their areas.

Gerry Adams said: “There is a need for greater support by government for suicide prevention groups and mental health services. SOSAD and the Dublin Southwest Inner City Network have been working on these issues for many years. Sinn Féin has prioritised mental health provision as a key area of work during this Dáil term and we will press the Government to adequately resource and address the gaps in provision in this sector.”

“The Sinn Féin Deputy Leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD has recently been appointed Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health.  Mental health must not remain the Cinderella of the health service.”

“It is accepted that one in seven adults will experience mental health challenged during the course of any given year. “Suicide statistics across Ireland are frightening with 459 citizens in this State and approximately 300 in the North dying by suicide in 2014.  However, it is generally accepted that the real figure could be much higher with around 1,000 deaths annually.
“The Mental Health Commission’s annual report which recently reviewed the State’s mental Health policy ‘A Vision for Change’ highlighted significant concerns around lack of funding.  It is disgraceful that the 2005 target of 8.24% of the total Health Budget being allocated to mental health has still not been achieved.
“This lack of funding is compounded by a staffing crisis, with the Psychiatric Nurses Association stating that there are up to 700 vacant posts within the mental health services.
“At last week’s meeting we heard testimony from people bereaved by suicide and people who had suffered serious mental health issues.  I want to thank them for their willingness to tell their story.

“One common refrain through all of their accounts was the persistent issue of citizens at risk of suicide being discharged from A&E departments with no immediate care plan in place.  This is totally inadequate. The government and the HSE are failing vulnerable citizens.

Suicide and Mental Health – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD on Friday morning met Peter Moroney from SOSAD, the Suicide Awareness and Prevention group in Louth.

Teachta Adams commended “all of the countless suicide prevention support groups and all of those in our health service and related agencies that work hard every day of the week in seeking to reduce suicide.”

Gerry Adams said:

“According to the most recent statistics available for suicide in this state 459 persons – 368 males and 91 females – took their own lives in 2014. During the same period there were 62 undetermined deaths which in the north and in other countries are normally counted as suicide. At the same time around 300 citizens in the north die each year from suicide.

It is generally accepted that the real figure for suicide is higher and that as many as 1000 citizens die across this island each year by suicide.

The human cost of this on families and communities is devastating. The reality is that all sections and all generations of our society are affected, from the very young to the very old, and in rural and urban areas.

Self-harming is also a huge issue in Irish society today. Thousands are admitted to hospitals every year as a result of self-harm which in many cases go unreported.

 

Mental Health is an area that successive governments have failed to provide an adequate level of service. This is despite the fact that 644,000 people or one in seven adults have experienced mental health issues in the last year.

The funding allocated to mental health is insufficient. The framework documents, ‘A Vision for change’ proposed a mental health funding of 10% of the overall health budget. This has never been achieved.

Among our detailed proposals on mental health Sinn Féin would increase the mental health budget in year one by €35 million.

We would complete the rollout of Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurses. Only 24 of the 35 nurses approved for this programme had been recruited by mid 2015.

We would recruit mental health nurses, specifically to liaise with homeless services commencing with five in year one.

We would reverse cuts introduced by the government in 2012 to guidance counsellors.

And we would update the Mental Health Act and Criminal Law (insanity) Act to bring them into line with international best practice.

One significant contribution to tackling suicide and self-harm would be greater co-operation between the health services north and south. In particular the creation an all-Ireland Suicide Prevention Agency that would co-ordinate the work of all of those involved would bring immediate benefits.”

Drogheda SF To Run PIPS Suicide Awareness Course

PIPS It seems to be that every time we lift a newspaper or turn on the news there is another story of how someone has ended their life by suicide. Unfortunately these cases are the ones that have made the headlines for one reason or another and they are just the tip of the iceberg.

We hear how the suicide rate is higher now because of the recession; because of a negative view of life; because of drug abuse; because of sexual abuse; because of cyber bullying; because of the lack of mental health services; because of the pressure of Christmas and on and on it goes.

The truth is there is no one reason why someone would want to die by suicide. Suicide is not racist, ageist, anti-women, sectarian and doesn’t care how much money you have or don’t have. We are all in a ‘high risk’ category because suicide can affect any one of us. We have all been touched in some way by suicide.

It can sometimes feel like a losing battle, but it is a battle that we must keep fighting, especially on behalf of those who are too tired to fight anymore. Drogheda Sinn Féin is hosting a PIPS course on Suicidal Awareness Training.

There will be a number of issues covered:

  1. Reduce the stigma, and the myths, around mental health
  2. Increase understanding of mental health, stress and depression
  3. Increase awareness around the extensive support available to those at risk
  4. Help identify warning signs that a person may be at risk of suicide
  5. Develop a clearer understanding of  groups who may be at higher risk of suicide
  6. Reduce the fear of helping someone at risk by Talking, Listening and Caring and linking those to available help
  7. Introduce simple ways of developing positive mental health within participants.

This has always proved a popular course (provided by PIPS) and will be held from 10am – 4pm in the Sinn Féin Office in West Street, Drogheda on Saturday 5th April.

All are welcome to attend.

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If you are experiencing suicidal feelings there are a number of services that can help:

Pieta House – 01 601 0000

Samaritans – Free phone 116 123

SOSAD – 041 9848 754