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Pandemic is driving 'unprecedented demand' for suicide prevention and mental health services

Ella Arensman has been appointed Ireland’s first Professor of Public Mental Health.

Professor Ella Arensman
Professor Ella Arensman
Image: UCC

IRELAND’S FIRST PROFESSOR of Public Mental Health has stated that demand for public mental health and suicide prevention research and services is greater than ever due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Professor Ella Arensman made the comments upon her appointment to the position of Professor of Public Mental Health within University College Cork’s School of Public Health.

“Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the attention for public mental health and suicide prevention has been greater than ever,” Arensman said.

She stated that she and her colleagues in the National Suicide Research Foundation and School of Public Health have “seen a significant increase in requests for policy briefings and research collaborations over the past year”.

“For example, the requests for real-time suicide and self-harm data to inform mental health promotion and suicide prevention programmes during Covid-19 have increased over the past year.

“Requests for mental health expertise in interdisciplinary research consortia focusing on intervention and prevention measures for infectious diseases and other public health emergencies have also increased,” she said.

  • Our colleagues at Noteworthy want to investigate the measures being taken to tackle a pandemic-induced mental health crisis in Ireland. See how you can support this project here.

Having spent over three decades working in the field of suicide prevention research and public mental health, Arensman will continue in her current role as Chief Scientist at the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF), while leading research on suicide and self-harm within UCC’s School of Public Health.

Welcoming the appointment, Professor Ivan Perry, Dean of the School of Public Health, said Arensman is “a global leader in public mental health who has made an enormous contribution to work on the causes and prevention of self-harm and suicide in Ireland and internationally”.

Arensman has worked for over 33 years in suicide prevention research and public mental health.

In 2015 she was the recipient of the HRB Research Leaders Award, which is the highest career fellowship available from the HRB which funded the five-year research programme on self-harm and suicide.

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Need help? Support is available:

  • Aware – 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Samaritans – 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.ie
  • Pieta House – 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland – 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 18)
  • Childline – 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)
  • ALONE - 0818 222 024  (for older people)

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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