Connecting for Life: New suicide prevention and self-harm action plan for the area launched

Longford Leader Reporter


Longford Leader Reporter


Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health Jim Daly TD launched Connecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath – a new suicide prevention and self-harm action plan for the area, which is the local implementation of Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020.

Mental Health Services in the Midlands Louth Meath Community Healthcare Organisation have taken a lead role in working with partner agencies to develop the Connecting for Life Suicide Prevention Action Plan for the six county area.

The development of the plan has been supported by a public consultation process involving members of the public, members of priority focus groups and staff working in statutory organisations and community groups who are affected by issues relating to suicide, self-harm and mental health difficulties.

Connecting for Life, sets out a vision where fewer lives are lost through suicide, and where communities and individuals are empowered to improve their mental health and wellbeing. 

Connecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath sets out specific actions to deliver the 7 goals of the National Strategy.

(i) To improve the nation’s understanding or, and attitudes to, suicidal behaviour, mental health and wellbeing;
(ii) To support local communities’ capacity to prevent and respond to suicidal behaviour;
(iii) To target approaches to reduce suicidal behaviour and improve mental health among priority groups;
(iv) To enhance accessibility, consistency and care pathways of services for people vulnerable to suicidal behaviour;
(v) To ensure safe and high quality services for people vulnerable to suicide;
(vi) To reduce and restrict access to means of suicidal behaviour;
(vii) To improve surveillance, evaluation and high quality research in relation to suicidal behaviour.

Minister Daly said: “Local, multi-agency suicide prevention plans ensure that national goals and objectives are translated to a local level and local views are represented. These plans are key to building community capacity to prevent and respond to suicide. This Midlands Louth Meath suicide prevention action plan sets out a roadmap to address suicide and self-harm. It is important that we all continue to work together, at all levels, to identify people at risk and to ensure that appropriate services are in place to provide the help and support needed. There has been a very collaborative process here in Midlands Louth Meath and I would like to congratulate all those involved.”

Also addressing the launch, Siobhán Mc Ardle, Head of Mental Health Services Midlands Louth Meath CHO said: “This plan is founded upon meaningful engagement with all key stakeholders. It is clear that the voice of the community has informed the overall aim of the plan to create a supportive living environment where good, timely and informed intervention is the norm. Connecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath has been developed to ensure our local actions and outcomes are aligned with and responsive to the national strategy. Local implementation that includes empowering communities is a core component of the Connecting for Life strategy.”

John Meehan (Assistant National Director and the Lead for the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention) told the audience at the launch: “Connecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath is the 17th local action plan for suicide prevention, now in place nationwide. These multi-agency plans ensure that the national goals and objectives of Connecting for Life are translated to a local level and that local views are represented. This plan will build the knowledge base, and capacity to prevent and respond to suicide, across six counties in this area. The HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention looks forward to supporting the structures that have now been established here, and in implementing the evidence-based actions that will now make a real difference."

Pat Bennett, Chief Officer, Midlands Louth Meath CHO, stated that: “Suicide prevention is the responsibility of everyone in society. Many suicides may be preventable, and for national strategies and local action plans to be effective, a comprehensive multi-sectoral approach is needed. Connecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath is a three-year plan, grounded in an approach that recognises the contributions that can be made across all sections of our community. The plan sets out a vision for suicide prevention across all counties in the Community Health Organisation area, and outlines the actions that will be taken to achieve the vision.”

Connecting for Life Midlands Louth Meath is a live, dynamic and flexible plan spanning the years 2018-2020. A multi-agency Implementation Steering Group will be established to support the implementation of the plan. This approach will generate outcomes that otherwise may not be achievable when working in isolation and is also a more effective and efficient use of resources.