CLG Eoghan Rua – (Coleraine) Connections Programme

I spent last evening with a group of interested club members and officers, players, managers and parents form CLG Eoghan Rua, Coleraine.Our aim was to raise awareness around the issue of Suicide amongst the attendees and to break the stigma enshrowding this “Great Big Elephant” in the room, as one participant so aptly described it.

But what is the “Connections” Programme all about?

The “Connections” Programme we followed, is the first of three levels of Suicide training provided by “Dare To Stretch”, the others being “safeTALK” (Level 2) and ASSIST (Level 3).

In the programme we considered the impact of suidcide on individuals and families, as well as looking at possible causes and “signs”, and how we might react appropriately to these. Central to our discussion is the World Health Organisation’s short video “The Black Dog” which helps generate discussion by explaining the problem of depression.

As in any open and genuine discussion, we found, that just as with suicide itself, there were many more questions than answers, but we recognised that through such “Awareness Raising”  sessions, where people are free to air their thoughts we can challenge the “taboo”.

We looked at the factors that might make some individuals more vulnerable to suicide than others,with particular attention paid to the impact of Alcohol and how it can lead to the “Impulsive” suicide.

In the end, we concluded that it is only by “asking” that we can begin the process of helping those we have concerns about. The asking can help bring that much needed initial relief, and the knowledge that someone cares enough to ask me how I am, what I’m feeling and if I may be contemplating suicide.

We round of the programme, by looking at actual “Connections” and how by taking one small step towards someone we can make a massive, possibly lifesaving difference. We use “Connect 4” to illustrate 4 main Connections any one of which can help initiate a new way of thinking for a person at risk.

These are:-

1)Connect to help Eg. Emergency Services, Family member or GP

2) Connect to the person at risk, If you know them well enough to know there’s something wrong,chances are you have made that connection,you may have to re-connect though by outlining your evidence or reasons for concern.

3) Connect with Suicide, establish whether or not we are actually talking about suicide. The only way to do this is to ask.


4) Connect with their Story. What’s been happening for this person that has made the pain of living so difficult. Simply Listening, giving them time to talk and showing that you care enough to help can have a major influence.

Someone said at our session last night, “That you would always hope that you would never have to ask” but in the asking you can make a difference, if only to one person,one family,one,community,one team,one life.

“It makes a difference to this one” Watch The Starfish Story” by clicking on the link below.

The World Health Organisation video on Depression, “The Black Dog” can be viewed on the link below.

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