– Written by Valerie Coonerty, Project Admin –
The International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) introduced World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) which takes place on September 10th every year. Endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the day aims to spread a message of hope and unity.
The theme of 2023, ‘Creating Hope through Action’ looks to heighten global awareness and diminish the stigma surrounding suicide. This call to action serves to remind us that with our behaviour, we can foster hope, strengthen prevention, and encourage alternatives to suicide.
A holistic approach to suicide prevention, one that considers both the individual and their circumstances, is essential as it can help to create a supportive and understanding society, which ultimately leads to a reduction in the prevalence of suicide. Becoming comfortable discussing suicide reduces stigma and encourages open communication. To create a society that is supportive of individuals seeking help, we must look out for those who may be struggling and provide them with care and support.
At IMS, we believe that it is our duty to prioritise people first, and we strive to embody this in all aspects of our business.
How IMS creates hope through action
The United Nations’ 3rd Development Goal of “Ensuring healthy lives and well-being at all ages” is woven into our culture through two of the IMS core principles: People First and Compassion. This is evident through the IMS Wellness Committee and IMS’ chosen Charity Partner, Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention (LTSP).
Thoughts from our Wellness Officer, Danna-Marie Blackwell
As knowledge and research develop around suicide, thinking and understanding changes also. What was relevant for Durkheim in 1897 is still relevant today. When we feel connected, and have a sense of belonging, we are more likely to be resilient to the feelings, thoughts, and behaviours that can lead to suicide.
Belonging and Connectedness are two of the most important considerations for the wellness committee when designing the programs of events to support the team each year. From workshops on belonging and inclusion, psycho-education around stress and elevating stress, to social gatherings that draw in elements of fun, laughter, and a sense of community. As the company grows, we have the pleasure of experiencing diverse cultures within IMS and that sense of belonging, understanding, and compassion becomes even more relevant. Earlier this year the team came together to run, walk, and crawl the 2023 Regeneron Great Limerick Run for Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention (LTSP). All of these small actions become beacons of light, supporting us, and in turn, helping us support others to experience the glimmers that ultimately support continued life”
IMS’ Charity Partner
IMS’ Project Manager, Pat Madigan is a dedicated volunteer with our charity partner, the Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention (LTSP). In a previous blog, Pat provided an inspiring account of how his role as the link between IMS and LTSP has had a positive impact on his life.
“It’s very rewarding and fulfilling for us (the volunteers) and me personally… when you talk someone down and give someone hope and support that there is another side”Pat Madigan on volunteering with LTSP
Pat has also recently shared his story, in conversation with Michelle Meaney – Secretary, LTSP and Jean Lyons – Virtual Events Lead, on an IMS podcast.
What steps can I take
- Increasing Awareness: Build your confidence in recognising and connecting with people that you believe may be at risk of suicide by taking part in training programmes such as:
- LivingWorks start (90-minute online program)
- safeTALK, 3.5-hour face-to-face program
- Click here for further examples of support and information.
- Social Support: Connection and support can reduce loneliness, which is a significant factor in suicidality. Those who feel as though they are supported socially are less depressed, more resilient, and are less likely to die by suicide.
- Reduce stigma: A more mental health literate and understanding society that promotes help-seeking behaviours, free of judgement or discrimination is essential. Conversations should be free of stigma, prejudice and, judgment. For example, avoid using the word “commit” suicide, and instead opt for neutral terms such as “died by” suicide.
- Communication: Encouraging open and non-judgemental communication about suicide can be vital as it allows for early intervention and support. The HSE (Health Services Executive) provides helpful tips regarding being a good listener and supporting someone who you think may be suicidal.
- Building Hope: Providing care and support can help build hope for those struggling. This can be cultivated through positive social interactions and empathy. Connect with or volunteer within your community to promote positive mental health and well-being with compassion, sharing positive messages of hope.
Should you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to use immediate support services to provide aid to others, having helpline numbers saved on your phone can be invaluable. You can find urgent help numbers here and additional non-emergency support lines here.
If you have been affected by the content of this blog, we would direct you to seek further support:
- on the phone – freephone Samaritans on 116 123
- by text message – text HELLO anytime day or night to 50808
- online – MyMind, visit www.mymind.org
- face-to-face – Pieta, visit www.pieta.ie or freephone 1800 247 247
Call the HSE YourMentalHealth Information Line, anytime day or night, for information on mental health, and what other services and supports are available near you – freephone 1800 111 888 or visit www.yourmentalhealth.ie.