HSE services available to help tackle suicide in the South East

6th September, 2013


There is help for people who are feeling suicidal and for families or friends who are concerned about someone. This is the message from the HSE as the National Office for Suicide Prevention publishes its annual report for 2012 today, Thursday 5th September 2013.


The HSE South (covering counties Carlow/Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford) is keen to inform the public that there are a range of services available in the area of suicide prevention as well as support in the aftermath of a suicide. People, who feel they are in crisis for whatever reason, need to know they are not alone. Help, advice and support is available to you.


The HSE continues to work through its professional staff in mental health services, GPs, counselling services and other community and voluntary groups in relation to developing various responses to the incidences of suicide in the county.


Seán McCarthy, Regional Suicide Resource Officer for the South East said “suicide is a significant issue in the southeast and of great concern to ourselves in the HSE and in particular to our staff who are working with people on a daily basis supporting their mental health needs. Clearly we have a lot more work to do in raising awareness of the services and support that is available on a 24 hour basis, whether it is through GPs, Caredoc, the Emergency Departments, or the range of counselling services that are available. The help and support is out there for people and we will continue to work to raise the awareness and to coordinate our activities, and to reach out to the most vulnerable to ensure that we can address the concern and worry that is in the community at this time”.


Suicide Prevention and Bereavement Support:

Over the last 12 months, the HSE South and Console, the national charity for Suicide Prevention and Bereavement has developed a new partnership to extend professional counselling, support and helpline services in the HSE South Region. The HSE also provides a bereavement counselling service for people bereaved by traumatic circumstances and access to this service is through the person’s GP or other medical professional.  To date 354 people have accessed this service.  If you are experiencing emotional distress or worried about someone else in your life that you think needs support as they may be vulnerable and is potentially at risk of taking their own life, the following supports are available to you:


  • Ø       HSE South Free-phone 24/7 Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1800 742 745
  • Ø       HSE South Free-phone 24/7 Farm & Rural Stress Helpline: 1800 742 645
  • Ø       1life Free-phone Suicide 24/7 Helpline: 1800 247 100 or Text ‘help’ to 51444


If you have been bereaved by suicide or affected by someone who has taken their own life, support is available for you through a partnership between the HSE South and Console. Individuals, families or community groups and organisations who have been affected by someone who has died by suicide can avail of the following support:


  • Ø       HSE South 24/7 Suicide Bereavement Helpline phone: 087 7986944
  • Ø       Console Free-phone 24/7 helpline 1800 201 890


These support services are aimed at:

  • Ø       People with active thoughts of suicide or of not wanting to continue with life.
  • Ø       Individuals who engage in acts of deliberate self-harm.
  • Ø       People whose thoughts have progressed to active planning for suicide.
  • Ø       People affected by others suicidal behaviour.
  • Ø       Those who have bereaved through suicide.
  • Ø       Others who may be in crisis, related to suicide.


Self-Harm Intervention Programme (SHIP)

The SHIP service is available across the counties of the South East.  This is a free confidential HSE professional counselling service offering short term counselling to individuals aged 16 and over who are experiencing suicidal ideation or the impulse to self-harm.  Referral is through a person’s GP or other medical professional.


Bereavement Counselling Service for Traumatic Deaths

The Regional Suicide Resource Office provides a bereavement counselling service for persons aged 16 years and over who have been bereaved through sudden traumatic deaths in the South East region.  This is a free confidential counselling service providing short term interventions for people bereaved.


Suicide Prevention Training Programmes

The HSE South Regional Suicide Resource Office works closely with the National Office for Suicide Prevention with its primary role being the co-ordination and implementation of the National Suicide Strategy (Reach Out) at local level. The office also advises, supports and provides training around the issue of suicide and works very closely with community groups and voluntary groups to raise the awareness of the issue of suicide and to promote the services available. These training programmes are offered to HSE staff and to the general public in Carlow/Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford in partnership with voluntary organisations and the National Office for Suicide Prevention.



safeTALK aims to increase awareness of self harm and suicide. safeTALK is a training package that prepares anyone over the age of 18 to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources. By attending this 3½ hour course, participants are able to identify people who have thoughts of suicide and move beyond common tendencies to miss, dismiss or avoid suicide.



Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a two day community based training programme. ASIST aims to enable helpers (anyone in a position of trust) to become more willing, ready and able to recognise and intervene effectively to help persons at risk of suicide.


STORM Project

This training provides professionals that come into contact with people who engage in deliberate self harm with skills-based training in risk assessment and management of suicide and self-injury. The goal of this initiative is that workers in hospitals, residential and community based setting etc. would become skilled in appropriate training that would ensure best practice in working and helping people who self-injure.


Community Gatekeeper Training

A 7½ hour training programme delivered over a 3 week period this training enables participants to acquire knowledge and attitudes to identify people at risk of suicide and to refer them to appropriate sources of help.  The training is directed at anyone who has significant contact with people at risk of suicide in the course of professional or voluntary activities or anyone who has an interest in understanding more about suicide.


Loss and Bereavement through Suicide

This day long workshop looks at the impact of loss through suicide on the individual, families and the community at large.  It is suitable and designed for health professionals, bereavement care counsellors, emergency service personnel, school and college staff and local communities.


Other programmes include

  • Suicide Awareness Training
  • Suicide awareness training for whole school staff
  • Suicide awareness in schools an education programme for school staff (9 hours)
  • Older Adults: Depression and Suicide
  • SafeTalk Suicide Alertness for everyone
  • ASIST TuneUp
  • Understanding Self-Harm


For further enquiries regarding suicide prevention training, please contact Seán McCarthy in the Regional Suicide Resource Office on 051-8740132 or e-mail sean.mccarthy@hse.ie .


Mr. McCarthy concluded “Many communities in the southeast are touched, sadly, by the issue of suicide and this often leads to a community becoming proactive in looking at the problem in their area. We can all help in the prevention of suicide by assisting in getting the message out there that help is available to those who are vulnerable and in distress. By working together, we can raise the awareness of the issue of suicide which will ultimately reduce the incidences of suicide across the South East”.