Donegal groups unite to be a force for change in suicide prevention

first_imgThe annual Connecting for Life conference for Donegal was held last week to bring organisations together to promote positive mental health and achieve suicide prevention in Donegal. Over 80 individuals gathered for the conference in the Ionad Naomh Padraig, Dobhair on Friday October 6, 2017 to share good practices and build connections in the area of suicide prevention.Representatives from Health, Education and Community and Voluntary organisations interested or involved in suicide prevention were in attendance. Pictured at the Connecting for life conference at Ionad Naomh Padraig Gweedore are Back row left to right Oonagh McArdle, NUI Maynooth, Peter Walker HSE, Eamon McGee Former Donegal Footballer, Liam Ward DCC, Mairead Cranley DCC, Paul Kernan Intercultural Platform, Front Row left to right Mary Coyle Ionad Naomh Padraig, Cindy O’Connor Pieta House, Cathaoirlaech Cllr Gerry McMonagle DCC, Anne Sheridan HSE and Theresa Dykes Mental Health Services HSE in CHO1The Conference started off with a drama piece “Waving not Drowning” by Mark McCollum and his cast. This performance gave a very real example of all the different challenges people are facing in life.This was followed by guest speakers:Former Donegal Footballer Eamon McGee from Gweedore gave a very personal and moving message of hope about his own issues with mental health and his journey to recovery. Anne Sheridan, Mental Health Promotion/Suicide Resource Officer for HSE Donegal then gave an update on the implementation of the Connecting for Life action plan two years on.Cindy O Connor, Chief Operations manager, Pieta House gave a presentation on Pieta North West and the first 6 months in Donegal. Paul Kernan Intercultural Platform introduced Oonagh McArdle, NUI, Maynooth who carried out a piece of research on engaging with young men in Donegal. Speaker and former Donegal Footballer Eamon McGee about his personal experience at the Connecting for life conference at Ionad Naomh Padraig GweedoreThis was followed by a short workshop discussion where groups could provide feedback on the day and also exchange ideas and information on the different services and the connections that can be made in the area of suicide prevention. A multi-lingual services brochure was launched at the conference to provide a list of emergency services in 7 different languages English, Romanian, French, Russian, Arabic, Polish, and Chinese. Master of Ceremonies on the day was Liam Ward, Director of Community, Development & Planning Services in Donegal County Council and the opening address was provided by an Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Gerry McMonagle.Cathaoirlaech Cllr Gerry McMonagle DCC welcomes everyone to the Connecting for life conference at Ionad Naomh Padraig GweedoreSpeaking on the deeply sensitive and devastating issue that is suicide in society the Cathaoirleach noted the need for cooperation in this area  “In the world we live in today with people facing many different types of difficult situations and challenges it is hard to think of anyone who has not been directly affected by suicide or mental health issues. “Now, more so than ever, we must stress the importance and value of community, community spirit, and cooperation to combat these issues. We as a Local Authority have an onus to help people with mental health issues and focus on providing support to people who are in crisis, whether it be housing, job creation or promoting social inclusion. “Our aim here today is to bring people together from different sectors, services and communities in order to strengthen our collective ability to be a major force for change in suicide prevention in Donegal.” Noreen Doogan MABS, Cathaoirlaech Cllr Gerry McMonagle DCC and Anne Sheridan HSE with the Emergency Service poster at the Connecting for life conference at Ionad Naomh Padraig GweedoreMáire Uí Chomhaill, Bainisteoir also gave a warm welcome to everyone attending the Connecting for Life Conference in Ionad Naomh Pádraig, Dobhar and expressed her gratitude at the importance of it being held in the west of Donegal. To conclude, Dr. Kevin Malone, Professor of Psychiatry & Mental Health in UCD gave an overview of the national and local picture in terms of suicide rates and encouraged the audience to keep strengthening their cooperation and build deeper connections as the best means of promoting positive mental health and reducing rates of suicide.Some of the crowd who attended the Connecting for life Conference last Friday.The conference was delivered as part of the Connecting for Life Donegal action plan which is a 5 year plan (2015 -2020) for suicide prevention that involves a broad range of organisations and individuals from the statutory, non-statutory,  the community and voluntary sector, and also the general public. This local plan forms part of the national Connecting for Life strategy which sets a minimum target of a 10% reduction in the suicide rate in Ireland by 2020.Attendees were then invited to the Lived Lives Lost exhibition, an exhibition of stories of young lives lost to suicide in Ireland, at An Gailearí, Áislann Ghaoth Dobhair.Donegal groups unite to be a force for change in suicide prevention was last modified: October 11th, 2017 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:connecting for life donegallast_img read more