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The new Regional Suicide Prevention Care Pathway has been launched in the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust. The pathway has been developed as part of the Towards Zero Suicide (TZS) initiative.

Speaking at the launch, Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Michael McBride said: “Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and this year’s theme is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’.  It is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us; that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling. 

“The launch of the Suicide Prevention Care Pathway today will help to identify and respond in a timely way to patients presenting to mental health services who are at risk of suicide. The goal is that every patient identified as being at risk has a suicide care management plan, or pathway to care that is timely, appropriate and proportionate.

Suicide deaths are preventable, they are not inevitable. The feelings that drive suicide are often temporary and with the right help and support people can get through a crisis and recover.

“We all have a role to play in reducing suicide. Our actions, no matter how big or small may provide hope to someone who is struggling. Simply asking someone how they are feeling and giving them the opportunity to talk about something which is troubling them can be the first step towards recovery.”

Towards Zero Suicide aims to improve the care and outcomes for people at risk of suicide who come in to contact with Mental Health Services.  The pathway has been coproduced in partnership with service users, past and present, lived experience volunteers, staff and key stakeholders and has been developed with a trauma informed lens to guide people through their mental health journey. 

Operations Manager for Mental Health in the South Eastern Trust Fiona Dagg said: “We are absolutely delighted to be launching the Northern Ireland Suicide Prevention Care Pathway on World Suicide Prevention Day.  This is the culmination of many months of research and partnership working with the Towards Zero Suicide Collaborative.”

“Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, our desire to promote good mental health and address suicide has remained a key priority.  We have worked collectively with service users, carers and staff to develop a range of interventions to enhance the services we provide to some of the most vulnerable people within our community.”

More information on looking after mental health and the support which is available across Northern Ireland can be found at www.mindingyourhead.info

If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also access the Lifeline website at www.lifelinehelpline.info

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