Trust launches new Zero Suicide pathway for care

Trust launches new Zero Suicide pathway for care

15 September 2021

THE South Eastern Trust has launched a new regional suicide prevention care pathway which has been developed as part of a suite of work under the Towards Zero Suicide (TZS) initiative.

The organisation is the first health trust in Northern Ireland to go live with the new initiative with the formal launch taking place during last week’s world suicide prevention day.

Health officials insist that TZS is not a fixed target but, rather, a cultural movement that aims to improve the care and outcomes for people at risk of suicide who come in to contact with mental health services. 

Co-produced in partnership with past and present service users, lived experience volunteers, staff and key stakeholders, the initiative has been developed with a trauma informed lens to guide people through their mental health journey. 

At last week’s launch, the province’s chief medical officer, Professor Sir Michael McBride, said the theme of this year’s world suicide day was ’creating hope through action’.

He said this was a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in everyone and that people’s actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling. 

Health officials say the launch of the new suicide prevention care pathway will help identify and respond in a timely way to patients presenting to mental health services who are at risk of suicide. They say the goal is that every patient identified as being at risk has a suicide care management plan, or pathway to care that is timely, appropriate and proportionate.

Health officials say suicide deaths are preventable, not inevitable, explaining that the feelings that drive suicide are often temporary and, with the right help and support, people can get through a crisis and recover.

“We all have a role to play in reducing suicide,” said the chief medical officer.

“Our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to someone who is struggling. Simply asking someone how they are feeling and giving them the opportunity to talk about something which is troubling them can be the first step towards recovery.”

The health trust’s operations manager for mental health, Fiona Dagg, said the organisation was “absolutely” delighted” to launch the care pathway on world suicide prevention day.

“This is the culmination of many months of research and partnership working with the Towards Zero Suicide Collaborative,” she continued. “Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, our desire to promote good mental health and address suicide has remained a key priority.

“We have worked collectively with service users, carers and staff to develop a range of interventions to enhance the services we provide to some of the most vulnerable people within our community.”

She added: “The South Eastern Trust is determined to ensure that each person’s journey is unique and the pathway has been designed to promote flexibility, person-centred and family-focused approaches.” 

More information on looking after mental health and the support which is available across Northern Ireland can be found at

Health officials say those in distress or despair or someone they know who feels similarly should call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 which officers a confidential service where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the telephone and follow up with other support if necessary. 

The helpline is available 24/7, while the Lifeline website is