I am not fully au fait with up-to-date results of the NI-DHSSPS's efforts in strategy formulation and policy implementation since their Suicide Prevention Workshop held at King's Hall, Belfast on 30 May 2013. On 16 July 2013 the relevant policy branch issued to workshop attendees (including the writer) a 'summary' of that event's conclusions. This 16 page A4 document resembles something like a tidied up version of inevitably jumbled-up outputs of small-group brainstorming sessions, summarised in two parts:
a) Visioning the future (4 questions); and
b) Realising the vision (3 questions).
Unsurprisingly (since we are living in Northern Ireland / North-East Ulster), participants could not agree about whether or not to establish a "suicide reduction target" for measuring the "success of ... a future suicide prevention strategy". Amazingly, it was suggested that a specific target (i.e. percentage-wise / numerical) for reducing the incidence of deaths by suicide among our fellow citizens 'may set the strategy up to fail given the huge range of social and environmental factors that influence suicide and which would be outside the scope of the strategy.
One wonders what these mysterious factors might be!
PS I almost forgot. Research is mentioned at page 6 of the 16 page document - in response to:
"Q2(a) What gaps need to be addressed through the new strategy . . . (b) what else do we need to do/do differently . . . "
under the sub-head "Information, evidence, and assessment" but not under the sub-head "Specific areas for action":
Research to determine if the risk (sic) is associated with the areas in which people live or with the group they belong to or a combination of both.
I've just checked: the above research topic was investigated in 2008. Read all about it in "Area Factors & Suicide: 5 year follow up of the NI population" (2008, O'Reilly et al., Brit J Psychiatry,192, 106-111.
More later. (Writer: Philip O'Keeffe PhD Registered MBACP (Accred)