by Bernie Commins
The first steps have been taken on the journey to establish a centre in Clonmel that will deal with suicide prevention and post-vention. The envisaged centre will also help families access relevant services for a loved one who may have suicidal tendencies, as well as provide specialist counselling services for people who feel suicidal and for those bereaved by suicide.
Following on from a series of very successful suicide awareness events held in Clonmel over the past two years, organiser Joe Leahy was moved by the amount of support he received, to take it to the next level and ensure that South Tipperary has a dedicated centre.
“As a result of the suicide awareness evenings and the growing demand that something needs to be done, I decided we need to establish a centre in Clonmel available for suicide prevention, post-vention, and families bereaved by and affected by suicide.
“Sadly there have been a number of suicides in South Tipperary recently and there is a real need for a centre of this type in the area,” he said.
A committee chaired by Mr Leahy has been formed, comprised of people affected by suicide and who want to see such a centre established locally. The 20-strong committee of ordinary and elected members also includes South Tipperary coroner Paul Morris, as well as detective garda John O’Gorman, and members of the religious and other communities. Their first meeting was held last Monday night.
Planning is still at an early stage but Mr Leahy hopes that the Clonmel facility will be affiliated to one of the already established suicide prevention centres in Ireland.
He explained that he will write to these organisations including Pieta House, Console and Aware, in the coming days asking if they will make a presentation to the committee.
“We hope to receive some presentations from a number of these organisations, we will evaluate them and then make a decision as to which one is best suited to Clonmel and South Tipperary,” he said.
The committee has several aims for the centre. One such aim is that referrals are free, which means that anyone can refer an individual to the service if they are worried or concerned, or a person can self-refer, which eliminates any costs incurred by doctors’ fees. The centre will have a management structure in place with fully qualified counsellors, as well as family support counsellors, and most counselling services would last approximately 45 minutes.
A possible location has not yet been identified and costs involved in setting up the service have not been confirmed but Mr Leahy is determined that the suicide prevention centre will be set up as soon as possible.
“We hope to investigate potential suitable premises soon, the project needs to be well thought out and well planned but we want to see it delivered as soon as possible.” He said that he has been astonished by the level of support he has received from people for the establishment of such a centre. If you would like more information or if you would like to get involved, conotact Joe Leahy direct on 08602606988.