All secondary schools in the State are to be issued with guidelines on suicide prevention next month as part of an initiative to promote a better way of responding to students’ mental health needs.
issue of suicide among young people has come to the fore following the
death of Shannon Gallagher (15) this week, six weeks after her sister,
Erin (13), took her own life.
The deaths are the latest in a series of high-profile cases involving schoolgirls who have taken their own lives.
for Education Ruairí Quinn and Minister of State with responsibility
for mental health Kathleen Lynch are due to issue the guidelines which
promote a “whole school” approach to mental health promotion.
will be designed to support principals, guidance counsellors, student
support teams and teachers.
In addition, boards of management and
in-school management teams will also be asked to play a central
leadership role in mental health promotion.
Console, the national
suicide prevention organisation, has called for increased education and
action in identifying possible suicide and self-harm clustering in
The group’s chief executive, Paul Kelly, said several
communities across Ireland were trying to cope with a cluster of
suicides within a short space of time locally.
“We need to address the
increased risk of suicide and self-harm clustering and contagion, in
particular among young people,” he said. “Early identification of,
and responding to, emerging suicide clusters is critical in reducing
the incidence of suicide within our communities.”