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The framework was due for publication by the end of last year. In February, MI was informed that the framework was expected to be published “early” this year. However, a Department of Health spokesperson has told MI that the document is now in its final stages.
“The new National Strategy to Reduce Suicide for the period 2015-2020 is being finalised and will be published in the next few weeks, subject to Government approval,” the spokesperson told MI.
“The strategy will extend the response to suicide risk across the health sector, agencies and Government departments. It was drafted following an extensive consultation process within the health sector, and with Government departments and agencies.
“This process has identified the actions and outcomes for suicide prevention which will be included in the new framework.”
Last month, Labour Senator Mr John Gilroy raised the issue at a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee. “At a time of unprecedented public concern about suicide rates, the Reach Out national suicide prevention strategy seems to have expired,” he said.
“In March 2014, this Committee was told that a new policy framework would be in place by November 2014. We are now into the fifth month of 2015, which makes the framework strategy seven months late.”
The previous policy framework, Reach Out, came to an end in December. The National Office for Suicide Prevention has assessed more than 270 public submissions that it received on developing a new framework during a public consultation process.