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The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) today (Thurs. 25 th June) welcomed the new national suicide prevention strategy ‘Connecting for Life ‘and said the strategy represented the most comprehensive and widely based response from the Government to the challenge of reducing suicide rates to date. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW DOCUMENT)

PNA General Secretary, Des Kavanagh said the ‘Connecting for Life' strategy recognises that suicide prevention requires a broad cross sectoral approach, involving up to ten state agencies, and cannot be left to weigh solely on the HSE.

PNA was a member of one of the five advisory groups involved in the development of ‘Connecting for Life' and Mr Kavanagh said he welcomed in particular that a number of priority recommendations which PNA had brought forward in the Practice Advisory Group are part of the final strategy. These include recommendations to :

4.1.1 Provide a co-ordinated, uniform and quality assured 24/7 service and deliver pathways of care from primary to secondary mental health services for all those in need of specialist mental health services

4.1.4 Deliver a uniform assessment approach across the health services, in accordance with existing and recognised guidelines for people who have self-harmed or are at risk of suicide.

4.1.5 Deliver a comprehensive approach to managing self-harm presentations through the HSE Clinical Care Programme for the assessment and management of patients presenting with self-harm to emergency departments.

Mr Kavanagh said that the PNA had in the past raised concerns on the issue of people who died by suicide following contact with the mental health services. He was pleased to see that a specific recommendation in ‘Connecting for Life' addressed the need for a review in these instances .

5.2.3. Implement a system of service review, based on incidents of suicide and suicidal behaviour, within HSE mental health services (and those known to the mental health service) and develop responsive practice models.

Mr Kavanagh said that it was important that the ‘Connecting for Life' strategy, unlike previous approaches, includes a comprehensive implementation plan and PNA ,as a professional body and a significant stakeholder in the delivery of mental health services, would expect to be included in the implementation of the new strategy.

Media Contacts : Des Kavanagh,. 087 2313809 /Derek Cunningham 086 2430535