Workshop on ‘The Impact of Alcohol on Self-harm.’

Donegal Town Family Resource Centre will host a workshop on ‘The Impact of Alcohol on Self-harm.’

Donegal Town Family Resource Centre will host a workshop on ‘The Impact of Alcohol on Self-harm.’

The two-day course will run on May 15 & 16 and is part of a wider ongoing programme by the North West Alcohol Forum (NWAF).

The aim is to enable participants to gain more knowledge, understanding and confidence in working with issues of alcohol and self-harm. It will explore the person behind the issues and provide theories and strategies for identifying and helping those at risk.

Anne Timony-Meehan is a Community Mobilisaton Officer with NWAF. She said: “Alcohol was a factor in 41% of cases of self-harm in the North West region in 2002. 47% of male suicides in the North West were alcohol related. 33% of female suicides were alcohol related.

“The Alcohol in Europe Report 2006 states of Irish young people that 32% of 15 - 16 year-olds had been binge drinking 3 or more times in the previous month. This is the worst in Europe.”

One of the main objectives of NWAF is to reduce alcohol related harm and therefore benefit the wider community in the North West of Ireland.

Ms Timony-Meehan said: “NWAF works very closely with communities across the region to help them develop strategies to deal with areas of alcohol-related concern. Each community involved has a steering committee. They run surveys to find out what the main concerns are within each area. Road safety, hidden harm and alcohol and young people have been identified as areas that need attention.

“We are following what is being highlighted by communities. We support them in finding out what the problems are but also in understanding what is contributing to problems, what is the bigger picture within that community.”

Action plans include alcohol awareness programmes in primary and post-primary schools and focused training for parents, teachers and youth workers.

A number of projects came about in direct response to the issues uncovered by community research. ‘Responsible Service of Alcohol for Businesses’ helps bars and restaurants to work towards developing positive, responsible attitudes within the service industry. The Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town recently put 13 members of staff through this programme.The hotel is now entitled to display a sticker showing their participation. Other recent workshops have dealt with the particular issues of women and alcohol, including women from the travelling community.

The ‘Impact of Alcohol on Self-harm’ will be delivered by Conor McCafferty of Zest. He has over 12 year’s experience delivering workshops on self-harm and suicidal behaviour, alcohol issues, crisis intervention and emotional health.

Anyone wishing to book a place or obtain further information can call the North West Alcohol Forum on 074 9125596 or e-mail

Places can also be booked directly by calling Donegal Town Family Resource Centre on 074 9725337.