Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a new UK helpline run by the Irish suicide charity Console reported receiving 600 calls in December from Irish immigrants, mostly young men, at immediate risk of taking their own lives; and the interaction agencies here have with their counterparts in Britain on this issue.
REPLY / Minister of State Alex White:
I understand that Console established a separate UK Company, ‘Console Suicide Prevention Limited' in November 2012, at the invitation of the UK Authorities. This service operates independently of the Console Service in Ireland and has obtained Charitable Status in the UK. The Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Emigrant Support Programme, provided €59,200 to Console in 2013 to assist with the start-up costs.
I have been informed that Console UK received 600 Helpline calls in December 2013 from Irish Emigrants living in England, Scotland and Wales. The classification of the calls are as follows:
- 42% Low, moderate suicide risk
- 10% high, immediate suicide risk
- 18% Concern about a relative, friend suicide risk
- 10% Information and referral to voluntary & statutory agencies
- 20% Listening only.
The HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention has regular contacts with the statutory agencies in the UK and shares information in relation to suicide prevention.
The Department of Foreign Affairs also provides support to various organisations including Console and others who provide welfare services to the Irish community throughout Britain, and through direct consular assistance to individuals on a variety of issues, which may include mental health.