Minister McEntee launched Connecting for Life Mid-West at the Millennium Theatre Limerick Institute of Technology today. This local implementation action plan is based on the same vision, goals, objectives and measurable outcomes as outlined in the national strategy, Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015 – 2020. 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.
The HSE Mid-West commenced the process of developing Connecting for Life Mid-West in December 2015, in response to the national strategy Connecting for Life. A Suicide Prevention Steering Group was set up and chaired by the HSE, with representation from over forty key services, sectors and communities within the Mid-West area. As part of this, an Engagement Working Group was set up. This group reviewed the seven Connecting for Life goals, agreed consultation methodologies, and identified a consultation sample and a rollout mechanism that included a public survey, a service providers’ survey, postcards and focus groups.
The resulting ‘Connecting for Life: Tell us what you think’ public engagement took place during May 2016 and included:
– 1500 people living in the Mid-West who completed the Public Survey
– 23 organisations completed the organisational survey
– 59 focus groups with priority groups as identified through the national strategy involving 394 participants.
– 103 postcards were completed by the public and returned.
An Information and Research Working Group (IRWG) was also set up from the Steering Group. This group compiled a Mid-West demographic and suicide information profile from four geographical Suicide Prevention Profiles prepared by HSE Public Health, CSO data and a meeting with a local Coroner. The IRWG considered the findings of ‘Suicide Prevention and Evidence Review’ and also carried out a literature review of published systematic reviews on interventions which were aimed at prevention of suicide and self-harm.
Speaking at the event, Minister McEntee highlighted the importance of local connections working together for the wider benefit of the community, stating:
“This document is an excellent example of the benefits that we can reap when all of those who will be impacted by a plan are involved in the creation of it. This local implementation action plan had input from a wide ranging group of people and representatives from the statutory and non-statutory, community and voluntary organisations working in the area of suicide prevention in the Mid-West, along with submissions from the general public. I am happy to say that the excellent work of all of those involved has resulted in a clear and tailored plan for the reduction of suicide for the Mid-West.”