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Conor Cusack to talk about sport, suicide, and how 'it's not always about winning'

The conference is to take place this morning in Westport.

Conor Cusack
Conor Cusack
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SPORTSMAN CONOR CUSACK will be among the experts discussing the issue of suicide in Irish society at a two-day conference this week.

He will take part in an interactive sports panel on the theme ‘It’s not always about winning’ at the Irish Association of Suicidology‘s conference, which takes place today and tomorrow in the Hotel Westport in Westport, Co Mayo.

Talking about suicide

This year, the annual conference will explore the problems of suicide in neglected and marginalised groups living on the edge of Irish society.

The keynote speaker Dr Paul Quinnett is a clinical psychologist, founder and CEO of the QPR Institute Washington. He will look at the issue of male suicide, with a presentation called ‘Why can’t a man be more like a woman’.

As part of this, he will talk about ‘Warrior Psychology’, how he believes evolution has “shaped male behaviour to be unresponsive to Public Health marketing of suicide prevention strategies” and why male suicide rates remain high.

Cusack will talk alongside former GAA President Dr Mick Loftus, Dr Anthony McCarthy of the Irish Sports Council and Prof Moira O’Brien, former medical doctor to the Irish Olympics team, about the vulnerabilities that sportspeople are under, and emotional and psychological problems that they can be dealing with.

Suicide in pregnancy

Another issue to be discussed will be suicide in pregnancy, with Dr Anthony McCarthy, a consultant psychiatrist at the National Maternity Hospital, due to speak about how suicidal ideas are reported by 3.5% of pregnant women, and depression by 7% of expectant mothers.

He will speak about how it is society’s responsibility to ensure that pregnant women get enough help and support.

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Mairie Cregan of University College Cork will talk about the loss of a child, and how this can affect parents.

The issue of increasing traveller visibility in mental health service provision will also be discussed, as will the experience of travellers with mental health issues.

The high mortality rates from suicide in the prison system will also be looked at, as will how the stigmatisation of LGBT people can lead to mental health problems.

This conference, which is on today and tomorrow, is open to everybody.

Board member Neassa Cummins said that the aim of the conference is to help people become better informed about the issues, and more open to how minorities and people who are marginalised can be affected by suicide.

Read: Conor Cusack subjected to homophobic slur, says he feels ‘empathy’ for victimisers>

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