Connecting for Life Carlow is launched

Ms. Aileen Colley (Chief Officer, HSE/South East Community Healthcare) has today (Thursday 7th December) launched Connecting for Life Carlow– a new suicide prevention and self-harm plan for the county, which is the local implementation of Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020.

Facilitated by the HSE, Connecting for Life Carlow is the result of a comprehensive process of consultation and engagement. It involved the people of Co. Carlow and those who provide services to them, developing a roadmap to address suicide and self-harm in the area from now until 2020.

The Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health Jim Daly TD, who was due to officiate at the event, was unfortunately unable to be present due to a late change in Dáil business.

Guests were welcomed to the event by the Deputy Mayor of Carlow County Council, Cllr. John Cassin – who said the Local Authority was delighted to be associated with the assembly of the plan and would be very much involved in ensuring its implementation.

Deputising for the Minister at the Official Launch of Connecting for Life Carlow at Cobden Hall in (St. Patrick’s) Carlow College, Ms. Aileen Colley (Chief Officer, HSE/South East Community Healthcare) said:

“Around Ireland, each county or region has developed its own suicide prevention and self-harm plan, linked to the national Connecting for Life strategy. I know that there has been a very collaborative process here in the Carlow area and I would like to congratulate all those involved. I’m delighted to launch the Carlow plan, which reflects accountability and is responsive, evidence based and adaptive to change over its three year implementation period. Connecting for Life Carlow, as with its application in other counties, 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. It's important that we all work together now to ensure the plan is implemented in full.”

The HSE facilitated process brought together a steering group from across Co. Carlow and a consultation process followed, which included public forums featuring in-depth discussions reflective of the complex issues that are suicide and self-harm. The Chief Officer was joined at today’s Launch in Carlow College by Ms. Tracy Nugent (Regional Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention, HSE/South East Community Healthcare), Mr. Martin Smith (Chaplain, Carlow Institute of Technology), representatives from Carlow County Council, the Gardaí and various voluntary agencies and community groups.

The audience at the launch also included mental health service users from the Carlow area, people bereaved by suicide and those from communities across the county who contributed during public meetings, focus groups and through submissions to the formation of Connecting for Life Carlow.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. John Meehan (Assistant National Director and the Lead for the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention) said:

“Local implementation and empowering communities is a core component of the Connecting for Life strategy. We need to connect with ourselves, our families, our communities and the services that are on offer. Connecting for Life Carlow has been led by the HSE but developed in partnership with a large multi-agency planning group. The result is a new plan, which details the actions that various organisations – including the HSE – will implement to realise the vision of a county where fewer lives are lost through suicide.”

Addressing the audience, Ms. Liz Kinsella (Head of Service for Mental Health, HSE/South East Community Healthcare Organisation) said:

“Suicide prevention is everyone’s concern. Looking after our mental health is a cornerstone of improving the health of our people. It is as important as physical health. Throughout the health services, we have been putting structures in place to try to ensure that people get the right type of help and we look forward to this plan establishing better understanding of suicidal behaviour and supporting communities to prevent and respond.”

Also speaking at the Launch was Ms. Claire Healy, a representative of the Carlow Mental Health Association, who said:

“The rate of suicide in the Carlow area is of concern. There is no part of our county that has not been affected. There is a sense of isolation for many. Our consultation process in Carlow was able to look at that in addition to feedback from priority groups like young people, the LGBTI community, the Traveller community, mental health service users, those living in rural isolation and those affected by drug/alcohol use to name but a few. I am looking forward to the plan building and acting on what has been learned.”

Last updated on: 07 / 12 / 2017