The WHO has upgraded a UCC-based suicide prevention agency.

UCC suicide prevention hub is redesignated by the WHO

The UCC-based National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF) has been redesignated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) until December 2027.

WHOCCs are institutions which are designated to carry out activities in support of the WHO's programmes at country, intercountry, regional, interregional, and global levels.

Prof. Ella Arensman, Chief Scientist at NSRF, Head of the School of Public Health, UCC and WHOCC lead said: “The redesignation of the NSRF’s WHOCC is a reflection of the specialist expertise and high-quality research in the area of self harm/suicide surveillance and suicide prevention, which has been crucial in making a difference in a growing number of other countries globally.”

The NSRF is an independent multi-disciplinary research unit which aims to provide a nationally and internationally recognised body of reliable knowledge from a multi-disciplinary perspective on the risk and protective factors associated with suicidal behaviour.

Dr Alexandra Fleischmann, Department of Mental Health and Substance Use at the WHO, said: “WHO Collaborating Centres are essential for WHO to fulfil its mandated activities and to ensure the scientific validity of global health work. In particular, the NSRF provides strategic support in developing and strengthening capacity in surveillance and research for suicide prevention in countries and regions.

“WHO highly appreciates having this top centre among the WHOCC and that the National NSRF is part of the international collaborative network.”

Also commenting was Mary Butler TD, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People.

She said: “I am pleased that the NSRF has been re-designated as a Collaborating Centre by the WHOCC.

“The work undertaken by the NSRF is absolutely vital in understanding the scale, as well as the underlying causes, of suicide and self-harm, so that we can tackle these most effectively as a country,” said the minister.

Referring to the newly established UCC centre, Minister Butler concluded: “Globally, there are just five such research centres in the world recognised by the WHO as collaborating centres in suicide research and prevention.

“I whole-heartedly commend the efforts of the National Suicide Research Foundation and congratulate them on their fantastic achievement.”