BY EMMA CONNOLLYÂ
A FOUR-year plan whose vision is to see fewer lives lost in Cork to suicide has been launched.
Connecting for Life Cork was launched by Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly and its objective is for communities and individuals to feel empowered to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Its development included extensive county-wide consultation with the public, community and voluntary organisations, public bodies and with health care professionals.
This extensive feedback Â formed the basis for a set of 72 actions which are the backbone of the plan which runs from 2017 to 2020.Â
Work has already begun on implementing some of these actions which include: raising awareness in schools of available youth mental health supports and services; support and resource the needs of local GPs in the area of suicide prevention, especially in relation to training; the introduction of a mental health and wellbeing focus into parent and baby/toddler groups on a pilot basis and to increase the number of schools in Cork who are part of the Healthy Ireland Health Promoting Schools Network and who are thereby taking a whole school approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing.
The Cork South West TD said: âThe supports that can be given to vulnerable individuals from the community, such as social support, follow-up care, tackling stigma and supporting those bereaved by suicide, can make a crucial difference to a person in distress. This plan, tailored to Cork's specific needs, is a welcome addition to helping us care for our community effectively.'
Head of Mental Health Services with the HSE's Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Organisation, Sinead Glennon added: âThis is a community issue and we need the entire community to be involved. That's why the plan itself was developed in a collaborative way.' Â She said they looked forward to lifting this plan from the page into reality.