Community has a key role to play in preventing suicide” – Dan Neville welcomes decision of public meeting at South Court Hotel

Speaking after chairing a public meeting at the South Court Hotel which decided to progress a the establishing of a community based centre for suicide prevention in Limerick, Dan Neville TD, President of the Irish Association of Suicidology stated “Effective suicide prevention involves both the health and non health sectors including education, labour, police, justice, religion, law, politics, the media, volunteers, researchers, families and others bereaved by suicide. While government have the responsibility to provide leadership and the resources to ensure adequate suicide prevention programmes, the necessary research to do so and to ensure that the bereaved of suicide have the necessary services, community based, voluntary activity has also a key role in this.

In this respect welcome the decision at a public meeting at the South Court Hotel on Thursday to set up in Limerick a centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide. The meeting which I was honored to chair was addressed by 3 speakers. Mr. Michael Hayes spoke of his family’s experience of the suicide of his son, Patrick who died by suicide at 23 years of age. Mike expressed with great emotion and detail of the experience of suicide.

Dr. John Connolly, Secretary of the Irish Association of Suicidology spoke on the levels of suicide in Ireland and the need to introduce suicide prevention programmes and to involve communities in this

The keynote contribution was by Dr. Joan Freeman who established Pieta House in Lucan, Co. Dublin in 2007. Pieta House is Ireland’s first community based centre for prevention of self-harm and suicide. The service which is free of charge offers a specialist treatment programme for people who have already attempted to take their own lives, for people which suicidal ideation and also for people who have engaged in self-harm. It addresses the growing problems of hopelessness and despair in the community it serves, which for some may lead to attempting suicide. Dr. Freeman stated that “our psychotherapists employ a groundbreaking approach involving daily, one-to-one counseling, if necessary for the first ten days. As the person improves therapy is reduced during the nest four to six weeks.”

Pieta House is fully supported by the voluntary contributions from the communities served in the Dublin area. Dr. Freeman committed herself to opening a branch of Pieta House in Limerick if the necessary support was forthcoming.

Mr. Patrick Brosnan, specialist in National Planning in the Health Service Executive, speaking from the floor expressed his support for the project and committed the HSE to funding the renting of a premises for a set up period.

The meeting expressed a strong view that the project should be progressed. For further information contact Ms Nora Conway 087 2564622 or Dan Neville TD 086 2435536