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TDs and Senators to receive suicide awareness training

A cross-party group of TDs, Senators and Oireachtas staff will take part in potentially life-saving ‘safeTALK’ training today.

File photo
File photo
Image: Press Association

POLITICIANS FROM ALL parties will take part in a course that aims to educate them about suicide awareness this morning.

A group of 30 TDs, senators and political staff have signed up to the potentially life-saving ‘safeTALK’ training in response to the 486 deaths by suicide that were registered across Ireland in 2010.

safeTALK is a half-day training programme run by the National Office for Suicide Prevention which aims to teach people about how to identify those who may have thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources.

The course, which will be held at Leinster House this morning, has been organised by the Oireachtas cross-party group on Mental Health which is convened by TDs including Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary, Fine Gael’s Simon Harris, Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, independent Maureen O’Sullivan.

Spokesperson and member of the group, Labour Senator Susan O’Keeffe, said: “Research shows that economic cycles give a clear indication of suicide trends, and recessions have been shown to be accompanied by an increase in suicide rates.

We as politicians are aware of the difficulty in which people are finding themselves and we want to encourage the supports that are available to them. Suicide first aid should be as commonplace as a first aid box in our society.

“While we may not feel that we have the knowledge to deal with a person who is in distress, this training is about the basic skills we can all learn to identify people with thoughts of suicide and to put them in touch with suicide first aid,” she added.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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