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Marking World Suicide Prevention Day today (Tuesday, Sept 10 th ) the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) has described the current recruitment campaign for Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS's) in Deliberate Self Harm, and the forthcoming Suicide Crisis Assessment (SCAN) nurses as significant steps in enhancing the health services' response to the challenge of reducing suicide rates.

PNA General Secretary, Des Kavanagh said that while the most recently confirmed data suggests some stabilisation in overall rates of suicidal behaviour, Ireland continues to have a worrying rate of suicide in its young people ranking at 4th highest in the EU with the highest being among young males.

He added "Psychiatric Nurses as individuals live in those communities which may have lost a loved one to suicide. They are part of the tremendous collective energies and efforts we witness across the country as statutory and voluntary agencies work together in providing self harm and suicide prevention programs".

‘For many years the PNA has consistently highlighted the need for clinical nurse specialists working in Emergency Departments and at Primary Care level to provide assessment and targeted interventions to support the individual presenting in a time of crisis'.

‘The recently published National Registry of Deliberate Self Harm's Annual Report is also definitive in its recommendation in this regard, both in this and previous reports'.

‘The recruitment of Clinical Nurse Specialists in Deliberate Self Harm and in Crisis Assessment will allow nurses to undertake assessments, make supportive interventions and ensure assertive follow up so that the individual is linked in with the relevant statutory/voluntary service in a timely manner'.

‘PNA will be closely monitoring the roll out of these posts and their contribution in making suicide risk assessment a core element of practice contributing towards the early identification of people at risk.'

"World Suicide Prevention Day provides an opportunity to broaden the dialogue on suicide prevention and increase awareness of mental health issues at Government, policy maker and community level."

Media Contact : PNA Gen Sec. Des Kavanagh: 087-2313809/ Derek Cunningham 086- 2430535