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Promoting Mental Health through Sport: Interview with Sean McCarthy | Episode 12

Many of us consider “Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training” to be similar to CPR. Before we knew the ABCs of CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver, people would just watch on helplessly as someone choked in front of them. Today, we give millions of people every year a relatively brief training so that they will have the competence and confidence to step up and save someone’s life.

Just like CPR, suicide prevention gatekeeper trainings like Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) and safeTALK teach everyday people how to sustain the life of someone in crisis until professional care can take over. Just like CPR, these trainings provide a method to follow that even if not followed 100% is almost always better than doing nothing. Suicide prevention gatekeeper trainings help people identify someone in emotional or suicidal crisis, engage in compassionate questioning about suicidality, and refer to resources that offer dignified support and treatment.

Suicide prevention gatekeeper trainings are often given in schools, faith communities — even workplaces. Our interview with Sean McCarthy shares why he believes they are critical for those involved in athletics too. During the interview, Sean shares why he is so passionate about this topic and why suicide prevention should be part of a total wellness plan for athletes. for more information.

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About Sean McCarthy

Seán has worked in the field of mental health since 1980. He has worked in the following clinical areas; acute psychiatry, rehabilitation, forensic psychiatry and community psychiatric nursing. He has also worked in nursing administration, before moving into the field of suicidology. He holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Nursing Studies and a Diploma in Health and Social Welfare from the Open University as well as numerous other certificates and awards. For the past 20 years he has worked in the field of suicidology. He was the first appointed full time suicide resource officer in Ireland, co-ordinating initiatives focussing on the areas of prevention, intervention and postvention, in a specific geographic area as well leading out on a number of initiatives nationally. He is a member of the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) and has been a co-chair of the IASP Special Interest Group (SIG) on Bereavement and Loss since 2007. Seán has presented on different aspects of his work at numerous international conferences such as Irish Association of Suicidology (IAS), International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), European Symposia on Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour(ESSB) as well as at the American Association of Suicide Prevention (AAS). He has been bereaved by suicide of a close family member and through the deaths of 2 friends to suicide. He is passionate about sport and the positives that people involved in it gain from such involvement. He believes that if we truly are determined to address the issue of male suicide particularly we need to go to the places where men are gathering at, such as workplaces and sports clubs. Where we can get men looking out for men in early identification of their friends, workmates and team mates who may be suffering.

In 2017 he was the recipient of the Farberow Award from the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) in recognition of outstanding contributions in the field of bereavement and survivors of suicide loss. For mor information on this and every episode go to

community, coping, coping skills, Crisis, Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, educational, empowerment, health & fitness, hope, life skills, lifestyles & health, mental health, mental illness, mental wellness, new beginnings, recovery, resilience, science, science & medicine, self-care, Self-compassion, Self-empowerment, society & culture, stories, suicide, suicide awareness, suicide prevention


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