Promoting Positive Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Every time I hear the statistics about the numbers of our citizens who die every year by suicide I feel a cold chill up my spine because If you take the number and consider the ripples of heartbreak that extend through families, friends, work colleagues, club mates and the local communities, you can get some idea of the ocean of hurt and pain that silently surrounds us all. Suicide is no respecter of age, education or income. There is hardly a person or family in Ireland today who has not been affected. For over forty years, I have been working closely with statutory, voluntary and community groups in the area of Suicide Prevention and Postvention. During this time I have been learned that simply responding to a crisis after crisis is merely keeping the ambulance at the foot of the cliff. Speaking at the Console World Suicide Prevention day, 2015, I urged the Government to make mental health an integral part of the curriculum in Primary and Secondary schools as well as in all third level institutions. I have spoken to students and staffs in schools and to community groups throughout the country promoting positive mental health and been a regular contributor to Mental Health days in organisations and industries such as Sanofi in Waterford and Novartis and the Whitegate Oil Refinery in Cork. I have co-written a positive psychology self- help book on happiness and well-being called 'Say Yes to Life – Discover your Pathway to Happiness and Well-Being' that has been adapted as a group programmme for depression and anxiety and is the subject of a randomised control trial in association with Professor Alan Carr and the School of Psychology at University College Dublin.
I will continue to be a strong and constant voice for suicide prevention programmes, urging the Government to commit to a comprehensive Mental Health Education Programme. I will continue to support the work of voluntary agencies and community groups who are doing tremendous work in suicide prevention. I will champion the implementation of Connecting for Life, Ireland's National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015 - 2016. I will travel to schools, universities, industries and community groups throughout Ireland and continue to make Suicide Prevention my number one priority.