3Ts advocates the establishment of a Suicide Authority along the lines of the Road Safety Authority, but what exactly do we mean and just what would such an Authority do? In the same way that we have seen a cultural shift in attitudes in Ireland to road safety, in everything from seat belts to drink driving, from infrastructural development to technological advances & regulatory changes, so we believe that a similar cultural shift is needed in Ireland to tackle the issue of suicide. A Suicide Authority could drive & co-ordinate such a shift, which starts with education and extends to infrastructural, technological, regulatory and financial and beyond. The RSA has identified shortcomings and worked to improve attitudes to safety, provided the infrastructural development needed and implemented and maintained regulatory and licencing strategies. Similarly, we believe a suicide authority, could adopt a similar model
A Suicide Authority could:
- Be a public sector authority, established in law with statutory functions, initially funded through the Exchequer but with the intention of being eventually self-funded.
- Create a framework for Suicide & Self Harm prevention in Ireland with increased flexibility & innovation and utilising partnership & collaboration
- Collaborate across departments – Health, Finance, Education & Skills, Children & Youth, Justice & Equality, Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation etc.
- Identify funding streams e.g. licencing & regulatory, educational training, intellectual property etc.
- Co-ordinate research & evaluation
- Inform & educate
- via a sustained public information campaign – advertising, PR & marketing
- via a co-ordinated & well developed suicide prevention education framework throughout the education cycle and also for older age groups, for those outside mainstream education and for minority & marginalised groups
- via a targeted vocational education programme for all frontline workers including teachers, counsellors, GP’s, nurses, Gardai, prison wardens, primary care workers, emergency services etc.
- Develop infrastructure establishing:
- a Centre of Excellence
- a dedicated Suicide Prevention service in every A&E unit in Ireland
- a 24/7 suicide crisis intervention helpline and 24/7 crisis centres
- a dedicated Suicide Prevention 24/7 GP on call service in towns & cities nationwide
- Funding provision of effective suicide bereavement services
- Develop licencing & regulatory framework including:
- a licencing & regulatory framework for practitioners (e.g. counsellors, psychotherapists etc)
- an accreditation system for practitioners (similar to CPD points)
- a Service Provider Inspectorate
- Co-ordinate, liaise & regulate all charities involved in suicide prevention, mental health & related fields
- Hold politicians to account in respect of pre-electoral suicide prevention promises
- Focus on delinquent & pervasive websites & other online activities and bring court proceedings in its own right
Join all the dots, so that all services, systems and activities work in collaboration and in tandem providing the necessary back-up and support when needed.
Further Comparison between the RSA & Suicide Prevention Authority:
- Independence, both board & eventually finance
- Specific legislation to govern the issue
- Clear & unequivocal power & right to intervene to help prevent suicide and hold Government’s promises to account
- Prioritise mental illness, depression & suicide prevention and give it the same status as road safety
- An independently appointed board would govern this Authority with representatives from the world of finance, law, education, health etc, independent of Government and therefore better placed to hold Government to account.
- There is no comparison offered or made on our proposals vis a vis the RSA other than we believe the model under which they operate is successful and could be replicated so as to ensure more lives are not lost in 2018 and beyond.