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HSE marks world suicide prevention day

This year’s theme is about understanding the impact that reaching out to people at risk can have in preventing suicide, and ultimately in helping to save lives.

According to the HSE, the act of showing care and concern to someone who may be vulnerable to suicide can make a big difference in their lives.

 Minister of State for Mental Health, Primary Care and Social Care Kathleen Lynch, said that :“Deaths by suicide are a concern for all of us and our challenge is to reduce suicide rates. On World Suicide Prevention Day, I want to acknowledge the tremendous work being carried out by the many individuals, voluntary and statutory agencies in providing support and services for those who may be experiencing a personal crisis or those who may have lost a loved one to suicide.”

Anne O’Connor, HSE National Director of Mental Health, said: “The first goal of ‘Connecting for Life’, Ireland’s suicide prevention strategy, is to improve the nation’s understanding of suicidal behaviour, mental health and well-being. All around the country in cities, towns and villages there are events and activities organised to raise awareness and understanding of the issue of suicide and how to prevent it. The key theme of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is about understanding and recognising the impact that reaching out to people can have in helping to prevent suicide.”

In the days to come, there are many events around the country to mark World Suicide Prevention Day including conferences, training workshops, tea and talk events, coffee mornings, support group meetings and remembrance ceremonies.

Speaking at the Console World Suicide Prevention Day Conference at the Aviva Stadium, GP and author Dr Harry Barry said that overprotecting children and problem solving for them could be contributing to higher suicide risks in later life, an Irish GP and author has warned.

Educating our young people from an early age about both mental illness and solving life crisis situations can be the key to significantly reducing the number of suicides, according to Dr Barry.

 “Parents have a massive role to play in not over-protecting children and helping them to problem solve rather than solving problems for them,” he said.

“In later life, children who do not learn to problem solve sometimes lack the resilience to be able to find solutions to life crisis events.

“Research has shown that many people who take their own lives have been under stress for a considerable period of time, as evidenced by the level of stress hormones in their system.

 “This is critical, as the more the emotional brain is swamped by trying to deal with the stressor, the higher the stress hormones climb, attacking the logical mind and its ability to solve the problem.

“Eventually the emotional mind can only see the problem and is unable to see any solution other than death as a way of handling the emotional trauma which ensues.

 “The key to breaking this deadly cycle of stress and suicide is the ability to adapt and problem solve. We need to teach our children resilience.”

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