Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Health
689. To ask the Minister for Health the measures that will be put in place to deal with the increasing number of deaths by suicide and the increase in those presenting with suicidal ideation resulting from measures implemented to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11456/20]
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant stress, anxiety, worry and fear for many people and we need to ensure that our mental health services are capable of meeting any potential increase in demand. In recognition of this, the Government has mobilised key cross-Government and cross-sectoral partners to develop a mental wellbeing campaign.
The campaign is a whole-of-population approach to supporting healthcare staff and the public, through health and wellbeing advice, resilience-based training and free online interventions such as counselling and crisis texting for all in need. In addition, the HSE’s online mental health services have been providing remote access to supports during the Covid-19 outbreak and will continue to be available in the post-Covid phase.
There is concern globally that the Covid-19 pandemic may increase suicide rates. High-quality evidence is needed to guide both national and international responses to the pandemic. The HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) is working with partners to address suicide prevention during and after Covid-19. NOSP and the National Suicide Research Foundation have been working with colleagues in Scotland undertaking a literature review on public health emergencies and suicidal behaviour, in order to provide the HSE with research-based intelligence about the likely impact of the current Covid-19 pandemic on suicidal behaviour.