Órlaithí Flynn MLA invites your views on a Private Members' Bill which she is currently developing to create a statutory duty on public bodies and government departments to provide basic suicide prevention training to all frontline public facing staff, across the north of Ireland.

The World Health Organisation recognises suicide as a public health priority and recognises each suicide as preventable.

There were 307 registered suicides across the north in 2018, which is nearly 6 deaths every single week. Every suicide is a tragic loss of life and it has a broader, and often devastating, impact on the persons’ family, friends and wider community.

The 2020 Department of Health, annual Health Inequalities report, stated that the suicide inequality rate had widened. The suicide rate in the most deprived areas are nearly three and a half times higher than affluent areas.

The current suicide prevention strategy with a target to reduce suicide by 10% has a training framework that is mainly focused on community and voluntary organisations working in healthcare and mental health. It is largely left to those organisations themselves to proactively develop and deliver training to their employees and volunteers.

This PMB seeks to introduce a statutory duty on public bodies and government departments to provide basic suicide prevention training to all frontline public facing staff, who have not already received such training, (equivalent training, or training to a higher level). This statutory duty would be an important step forward in tackling the suicide crisis our communities continue to experience.

Frontline public facing staff, are those whose job role and responsibilities, see them directly interact with members of the public, for much of their typical working week. This would train, for example, staff in social services offices or jobs and benefits offices to recognise the signs of emotional distress that present in members of the public as they engage with them in their work. Knowing these signs would equip staff on how to engage sensitively with people in a vulnerable situation and also be able to sign post them to other supports or services. It could also empower staff to raise concerns they have for individuals with relevant services.

Small interventions such as these could put vulnerable people in contact with much needed support. Suicide is everyone’s business and ultimately, small interventions within a wide range of services, could be lifesaving.

I want to hear the views and opinions of you the public and of organisations interested in suicide prevention with regards to my Bill to create a statutory duty on public bodies and government departments to provide basic suicide prevention training to all frontline public facing staff.

I invite you to complete this short survey below. 

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* 1. The World Health Organization recognises suicide as a public health priority and each suicide as a preventable death. Do you agree that each suicide is preventable?

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* 2. Do you agree that government has a duty to protect life as stated in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)?

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* 3. This private members bill seeks to create a statutory duty on public bodies and government departments to provide basic suicide prevention training to all frontline public facing staff. Do you agree with this objective?

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* 4. The 2020 Health Inequalities report for the north of Ireland stated that the suicide inequality rate had widened. The suicide rate in the most deprived areas are nearly three and a half times higher than affluent areas.[1] Do you agree that increased suicide prevention training will help those deprived communities who are disproportionately impacted by suicide?

[1] www.health-ni.gov.uk/publications/health-inequalities-annual-report-2020

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* 5. In September 2019, the Department of Health published an updated suicide prevention strategy, Protect Life 2, were you aware of this strategy before completing this survey?

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* 6. One part of the strategy calls for the creation of a voluntary suicide prevention training framework (Link to framework). It aims to provide guidance on the most appropriate type and level of suicide prevention training for different settings. Were you aware that there were different types of training?

Link: www.publichealth.hscni.net/sites/default/files/2019-10/Draft%20training%20framework%20-%20Sept%202019%20(2).pdf

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* 7. Do you think this legalisation should enable the Department of Health (or other Department) to decide the level of training required?

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* 8. How often should training take place or be renewed?

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* 9. Do you believe the impact of this piece of legislation should be monitored and reviewed by the Department?

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* 10. Do you believe additional suicide prevention training for all GPs would benefit their central role in providing support?

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* 11. Do you believe public bodies should be required to comply with this legislation/be included?

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* 12. Should there be a sanction on public bodies for failing to comply with the training requirement?

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* 13. Do you believe that other organisations or business should be included in legislation with regards to providing training to public facing staff?

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* 14. Do you think there will be any challenges or problems with introducing this piece of legislation?

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* 15. Please provide any additional comments you have on any or all of the questions above.

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* 16. If you do NOT agree with the bill proposal,

a) Please outline why.
b) What additional measure would convince you to agree with the proposal?
c) What alternative proposal would you support to improve suicide prevention training?

0 of 16 answered
 

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