Councillor questions delays in updated suicide prevention strategy

Councillor questions delays in updated suicide prevention strategy
Councillor Mick Finn. Pic: David Keane.

AN updated suicide prevention strategy has yet to be published, despite “huge and traumatic” problems caused by suicide in Cork, according to a South Central Councillor.

The pace of progress from both the HSE and the Government on suicide prevention is “far too pedestrian”, according to Independent Cllr. Mick Finn.

"There has been no urgency on this from the HSE or government nationally and moves locally are at a snail's pace. That is not good enough," Cllr Finn said.

"We are talking matters of life and death."

"Mental health managers spend more time dampening down statistics, using the lower end figures and hiding behind waiting lists than actively fighting for more resources," he added.

“Suicide prevention is a serious issue and it needs to be treated with urgency. I know of one 17-year-old whom GPs and support workers have declared a suicide risk in April, only for appointments to be delayed to June, July and now August. Is this satisfactory?"

Planned resilience programmes for secondary schools in Cork affected by suicides earlier this year were cancelled because charity providers were inundated with calls and could not spare personnel, Cllr Finn added.

“Certainly there was one school in particular affected by suicide that had a planned programme postponed, which is worrying because the level of need is there.”

A new, updated suicide prevention strategy was promised by the HSE by March of this year, according to Cllr Finn.

“Last year, October, November, December was a tough time of year and I just think more work needs to be done, especially in September as you have students entering both second and third level education and its a real period of transition. Those paid to manage suicide prevention, including the roll-out of youth mental health services, must take action before the new academic year or face further questions of competence in the face of higher suicide rates."

UPDATED NOTE: THE HSE has since informed the Evening Echo that the new suicide strategy will be published on July 26.

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