Home > Minister Kathleen Lynch, TD launches HSE STOP suicide prevention and mental health training for prison services staff.

[Health Service Executive] Minister Kathleen Lynch, TD launches HSE STOP suicide prevention and mental health training for prison services staff. (15 Dec 2011)

The HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) and the Health Promotion Department Dublin North East has developed a unique suicide prevention training programme STOP (Suicide Training Overview for Prisons)specifically tailored for Irish Prison Service (IPS) staff.  

Prisoners are a key vulnerable group for HSE NOSP suicide prevention efforts as research consistently shows prisoners to be at high risk of mental health problems, self harm and suicide.  The HSE has been working in partnership with the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) and the Irish Prison Service to deliver suicide prevention and mental health training to those Prison Services staffwho come into contact with prisoners on a regular basis.
The HSE has worked with the Irish Prison Service Training & Development Centre in Portlaoise and the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) to develop a skills based suicide prevention training programme to meet the training needs of prison service staff in this area.  
Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Older People, Equality & Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch, TD said ‘The other key benefit of the STOP programme is that the skills that the Prison service staff develop as part of the training are not only of use in the Prisons but will also benefit the Prison Officers in their own personal lives with family, friends and colleagues.  This Programme is another important step in delivering on The National Strategy for Action on Suicide‘Reach Out’ which recommends the development and delivery of training on suicide prevention for staff from the Irish Prison Service (IPS).’
Susan Kenny, HSE NOSP commented ‘it is important that this training programme is successful in upskilling staff to respond to suicidal behaviour as Prisoners are at higher risk of developing mental health problems and are at higher risk of self harm and suicide compared to the general population.’  Susan also added that the programme represented only one initiative that the NOSP are implementing to reduce suicidal behaviour among vulnerable groups in Ireland.
The STOP programme has been delivered to staff from eight prisons in Irelandand will be rolled out to all prisons throughout the Country in 2012.
Governor John McGuckin from the Irish Prison Service Training and Development Centre added ‘The launch is a significant day for the IPSTDC, we have supported the development and phased implementation of the STOP programme for the past 4 years. Staff at the IPSTDC have enjoyed and gained much from working with our STOP partners and we look forward to building on this work in the future’
 Mr Des Kavangh Secretary General of the PNA speaking at the launch stated that the partnership between the HSE, IPS and PNA in the delivery of the programme highlighted the significant benefits of statutory and non-statutory organisations working together to reduce suicidal behaviour and promote positive mental health in vunerable groups.’
The STOP programme developed from work that was carried out by HSE Health Promotion Dublin North East and the Mountjoy Prison Complex which researched prison officers in Mountjoy on mental health promotion and suicide prevention in the Prison setting.
The aim of the STOP programme is to up-skill key staff within the Irish Prison Service to respond to prisoners who are at risk of suicidal behaviour.  The programme will assist prison officers to enhance their skills in the identification and management of self harm and suicide in the prison environment.  The HSE NOSP and regional suicide prevention resource officers will be involved in supporting the national implementation of the programme. 
An initial evaluation of the STOP programme has showed that it does increase a prison officers’ knowledge and skills in suicide prevention within the Prison setting.

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