Samaritans Ireland is calling on the new Government to put mental health and wellbeing centre stage of its health and social policies as the country reopens and continues its recovery process.
Welcoming the appointment of Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, TD and the recent publication of new mental health policy, Sharing the Vision, Samaritans Ireland said that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on people’s mental health and now, more than ever, mental health and wellbeing should be at the forefront of government policies.
Samaritans Ireland Executive Director Niall Mulligan said: “Every 49 seconds, someone contacts Samaritans in Ireland. A recent survey amongst our volunteers found that COVID-19 is specifically mentioned by 1 in 3 callers. We know when people ring Samaritans for emotional support, they often mention isolation and loneliness, anxiety and mental health, family and relationship issues, and financial worries. It is no different in the current crisis, a crisis that has magnified these issues for callers and looks likely to continue to do so for some time to come”.
In placing mental health and wellbeing at the centre of its health and social policies, Samaritans Ireland is asking the new Government to support its ‘4 Asks 4 A Safer Ireland’:
- Men: A national, well-resourced plan to reach and support men at high risk of suicide.
- Self-Harm: Everyone who self-harms should have access to support to help them identify and address the reasons for their distress, and to find alternative coping mechanisms.
- Loneliness: Support and develop social connections at an individual, family, community, and societal level to significantly reduce loneliness in Ireland.
Online Safety: Minimise harmful online content relating to suicide and self-harm, and maximise online opportunities to support and help people at risk of suicide and self-harm.
The full manifesto can be accessed here.
Niall Mulligan said: “In 2019, 421 people in the Republic of Ireland took their own lives. Every single one of these deaths was a tragedy that devastated families, friends and communities. Politicians have a key role to play in saving lives by ensuring adequate supports and resources are made available for all vulnerable people across Ireland. Suicide prevention is a cross-party, inter-departmental responsibility. By working together on this issue true progress can be achieved. Samaritans Ireland looks forward to engaging with Minister of State Butler, and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on our priorities for mental health and wellbeing.”
For more information or an interview please contact Ciaran Brennan on [email protected] or 085 860 5554.
Notes to editors
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