Mac Sharry welcomes calls for Suicide Prevention Authority
Fianna F¨¢il Seanad Spokesperson on Health Marc Mac Sharry has welcomed calls for the establishment of a Suicide Prevention Authority.
The Sligo Senator has pledged his partys full support for a campaign launched this week by the 3Ts group, saying it is "a welcome step in tackling the silent crisis destroying communities throughout the country."
"Fianna Fail is currently working on extensive policy and series of proposals in relation to suicide prevention, and the calls today by the 3Ts group for a national authority on suicide prevention tie in closely with this," said Senator Mac Sharry.
"Sadly the statistics show that the approach to suicide prevention to date has been far from sufficient. The national effort on suicide prevention is fragmented and under resourced. The numbers speak for themselves. This is a silent crisis that continues to ravage communities throughout the country. What we need is coherent and collective action, backed up by sufficient resources, if we are to make progress in tackling this crisis.
"Despite the hard work of suicide prevention officers, specialist medical practitioners, community health workers and many community and voluntary groups this is a battle that society is losing. The National Office for Suicide Prevention is still without a director and the entire area under resourced. We need one authority to manage resources and to bring together various bodies that currently work in suicide prevention.
"The latest estimates suggest that 525 people officially committed suicide last year. In reality this horrific number is potentially even higher. Essentially the equivalent of an entire village is being wiped out annually, and yet the supposed authority on combating suicide is only given half the budget that the Roads Safety Authority receives. We have seen the success of Noel Brett and his organisation when they were given the resources and autonomy to tackle the scourge of death on our roads. It is now time to take our heads out of the sand and apply the same focus and energy to suicide prevention.
"The 3TS campaign, calling for the creation of a body with the autonomy to bring about meaningful action that will halt the rates of suicide, is worthy of strong public and political support," said Senator Mac Sharry.