World conference on suicide coming to Derry

Pictured at the launch of Derry's bid to host the World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (I.A.S.P.) on Derry's walls on Wednesday. From left to right, Siobhan O'Neill (professor of mental health, Ulster University); Fergus Comesky (CEO Contact); Ciaran Doherty (Tourism Ireland); Gary McGale; Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Colr. Elisha McCallion; Odhran Dunne (Visit Derry); Aoife McHale (Visit Derry); Rory O'Connor (professor of physcology, University of Glasgow) and Greg Carew (Abbey Conference and Corporate Ireland).
Pictured at the launch of Derry's bid to host the World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (I.A.S.P.) on Derry's walls on Wednesday. From left to right, Siobhan O'Neill (professor of mental health, Ulster University); Fergus Comesky (CEO Contact); Ciaran Doherty (Tourism Ireland); Gary McGale; Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Colr. Elisha McCallion; Odhran Dunne (Visit Derry); Aoife McHale (Visit Derry); Rory O'Connor (professor of physcology, University of Glasgow) and Greg Carew (Abbey Conference and Corporate Ireland).

Over 600 international delegates are are to converge on Derry for the 30th World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Preventionin 2019.

It was confirmed on Friday that Derry had been selected from a shortlist of international bidders including Rome and Vienna.

Visit Derry Conference Ambassadors, Professor Siobhan O’Neill (Ulster University), Barry McGale (Suicide Bereavement UK) and Professor Rory O’Connor (University of Glasgow), in partnership with Visit Derry and Abbey Conference & Events, had sumbitted the bid.

The five day conference will run from September 17 to 21, 2019 and is expected to attract over 600 international delegates to the city.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane Councillor Maolíosa McHugh said: “I am delighted the city has been chosen to host the IASP world congress and am confident it will deliver an outstanding event.

“Hosting this hugely important congress will have a major impact on raising awareness of this difficult issue and greatly contribute to the ongoing efforts to tackle suicide and provide help and guidance to those in need of support.”

Professor O’Connor meanwhile said: “As a native of Derry, I am delighted to have played a part in bringing the world’s largest suicide prevention conference to the city.

“In addition to highlighting the latest evidence on suicide prevention research, policy and practice, the conference will also be a great opportunity for Derry and Northern Ireland to showcase the innovative work going on here.

“I also know that the people of Derry will give our international delegates an unforgettable welcome.”

Professor O’Neill said he was looking forward to organising a conference which not only showcases impactful, suicide prevention research, “but also produces positive benefits for those in the city and wider council area who work tirelessly to address this important problem”.

Barry McGale said: “I was honoured to co-present the bid for Derry to be the conference site for the 2019 IASP conference and delighted that we have been selected.

“It is well recognised our city has been to the fore in developing new ideas and projects in the field of suicide prevention.”

Aoife McHale, Business & Leisure Tourism Officer at Visit Derry congratulated the Ambassadors on their achievement in successfully competing against prestigious international conference destinations.

She said: “The majority of our conferences are secured through the Visit Derry Ambassador Network and we encourage anyone who is interested in hosting a conference to get in touch with Visit Derry. We look forward to working with the team to welcome the IASP delegates and deliver a world-class Congress in 2019.”

IASP is the International Association for Suicide Prevention – an organisation dedicated to preventing suicidal behaviour and providing a forum for mental health professionals, crisis workers, suicide survivors and other people in one way or another affected by suicidal behaviour.