A COUNTY councillor raised concerns over the number of groups involved in suicide awareness and how many of them are qualified to deal with people who are depressed or suicidal.
The concern was raised by Cllr Gerry Coyle at yesterday’s (Monday) monthly meeting of Mayo County Council when councillors approved the payment of contribution of €10,000 to Mayo Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Group. Cllr Coyle welcomed the money but was worried that a number of groups may not be qualified and called for funding to be only forwarded to qualified groups.
“I have been contacted by groups in relation to suicide and I am a bit worried that there are too many groups involved in suicide prevention. It is an awful tragedy to affect any family or community. But if I had a pain in my tooth I would go to a dentist and if I was sick I would go to a doctor. I would like to know if people involved are qualified in their field. I would only want qualified people involved in this,” he said.
Cllr Rose Conway-Walsh replied that she was involved with one of the groups in receipt of some of the funding and she reassured the councillors that ‘every penny will be spent very wisely’ and will ‘make a difference’.
She said the money will be spent on training on reporting suicide in the media saying that reports can cause pain to people bereaved by suicide. She also criticised a decision by the HSE to cancel a course for people to educate themselves on suicide prevention at just 24 hours notice.
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne supported her criticism of the HSE on this issue and said he believed the decision was due to cuts in travel expenses. Cllr Michael Burke said many young people did not know who to contact regarding suicide prevention and recommended that a single phone should be used which will be at the tip of people’s tongues.
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