Local Groups continue to raise awareness of the issue of suicide and challenge the stigma associated with mental health
Over 100 people attended a public meeting entitled “Working Together to Help Prevent Suicide” in Abbeyfeale, County Limerick on the 23rd of April. The meeting, organised by the Abbeyfeale & District Initative in conjunction with Limerick Social Council, was chaired by Bernie Carroll, Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention with the HSE. A number of such meeting have been held around Ireland in recent months and more are being planned by local community groups keen to raise awareness of the issue of suicide and challenge the stigma surounding mental health.
Mr. Dan Neville, T.D. and President of the Irish Association of Suicidology spoke about the levels of suicide in Irish society and the stigma that prevents people seeking help. Deputy Neville described how years ago people met as a community through parish activities and how this level of community involvement has been lost in recent years leading to greater isolation and loneliness for some. Dr. John Connolly, Consultant Psychiatrist, Mayo, identified the warning signs for those at risk of suicidal ideation. Dr. Connolly also dispelled some of the myths regarding suicide such as “talking about suicide will only make the situation worse”. We know from international research that talking about suicide provides an opportunity for those in crisis to discuss how they feel, and to ask for appropriate help and support.
Finally Dermot Troy of the Limerick Samaritans Branch provided an overview of the work of the Samaritans. The Samaritans like many other organisations have developed and embraced modern techonology. As well as the telephone support offered by the Samaritans for over 50 years, the Samaritans now have drop in centres for face to face support as well as email and mobile phone text support. Further details on your local Samaritans Branch can be found at: http://www.samaritans.org/talk_to_someone/find_my_local_branch/ireland.aspx
Feedback from the audience on the night was very positive. A number of local support organisations such as the Samaritans, Console, Aware, Pieta House, Accord and the HSE were present at the event providing information and support for anyone who had a concern.