Written answers

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Personnel Data

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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16. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of self-inflicted injuries of both serving and retired Defence Forces personnel in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45650/19]

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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I am advised by the military authorities that the Defence Forces are not in a position to provide the information requested in relation to the number of self-inflicted injuries of both serving and retired personnel in the past five years.

This data is not specifically captured by the medical record system and would require a search through the medical records of each individual member.

The Defence Forces do not have access to data regarding retired personnel.

I can assure the Deputy that the Defence Forces are fully alert in relation to suicide awareness and prevention, issues of depression and other mental health issues among its personnel. This is particularly important given the nature of their role and personal access to firearms and weapons.

Personnel currently have access to two in-house clinical psychologists, as well as external psychiatric services as required. The Deputy will be aware that efforts to recruit a full-time clinical psychiatrist for the Defence Forces are ongoing.

Additionally, the Defence Forces engages in extensive suicide awareness and mental health education programmes for all members through its Personnel Support Services (PSS).

The PSS also makes confidential services, including critical incident stress management, and psychosocial support available to all Defence Forces personnel through its network of Barrack Personnel Support Service Officers and occupational social workers at formation, unit and barrack level.

As additional support, my Department has arranged the provision of a confidential counselling, referral and support service, on a wide range of personal and work related issues, for serving members of the Defence Forces, civilian employees and Civil Defence members. A Freephone confidential helpline is available on a 24/7 basis 365 days a year and is staffed by fully-trained and experienced counsellors.


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