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Pieta House launches 'Mind Our Men' to reduce male suicide

The campaign aims to empower people in spotting and dealing with the signs and symptoms of suicide.

A MAJOR CAMPAIGN to reduce the level of male suicide in Ireland has been launched today by Pieta House.

The Mind Our Men movement aims to tackle the high figure of eight out of every 10 people taking their own lives being male. Joan Freeman, founder and CEO of Pieta House, has called on people to educate themselves on the signs and symptoms of suicide as she launched Mind Our Men, which focuses on equipping people with such information.

A multi-platform training and education campaign, it gives the public the skills needed to reach out to the men in their lives during times of crisis.

Suicide and self-harm

Pieta House is a suicide and self-harm crisis centre that has helped over 8,000 people since it was established in 2006. Freeman told TheJournal.ie that although just under 50 per cent of the people who contact Pieta House are male, the realisation that the majority of these men were referred by women showed them that something needed to be done about this situation.

“Although there’s been a huge increase in awareness over the past number of years it’s clearly not enough as our men are still dying by suicide,” said Joan Freeman.

There are hundreds of organisations doing great work but it’s family and friends who are on the frontline and who need to educate themselves on the warning signs to look out for. Research shows that more suicides are prevented by family and friends than by any organisation or institution. This is why we’re targeting the women and men of Ireland and empowering them to tackle the problem of suicide – spot the signs and save a life.

The public are being asked to pledge their support for the campaign at www.mindourmen.ie, where they will be provided with a support pack on suicide prevention and a list of nationwide services and resources.

The campaign – which Freeman calls a ‘movement’ – also has a corporate and organisational element called Mind Your Buddy. This Pieta House-designed suicide prevention programme involves designated contact people within businesses and organisations being trained in support and referral.

It is currently being implemented in organisations such as An Garda Síochána, Scouting Ireland, the Defence Forces and the Gaelic Players Association.

The campaign will be travelling around the country, and Pieta House is also looking for organisations to get involved with them on a local level in promoting Mind Our Men.

“We all know that men find it hard to ask for help,” said Joan Freeman.

It’s frightening to think that there are women and men across Ireland today whose loved ones may be contemplating suicide without their knowledge. It could be your father, your son, your partner, your brother, your friend; this is why it’s so vital that we all take a proactive approach in learning the signs to look out for.

For more information, log on to www.mindourmen.ie. Pieta House is available at www.pieta.ie or 01 601 0000

Read: Campaign to reduce male suicides to be launched>

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