Amid growing concern about depression and suicide in Britain and Ireland, especially among the young, The Salvation Army has announced that it will be holding a two-day International Conference on Suicide Prevention next month.
The conference, attracting experts and practitioners, will take place in Killarney, Ireland, on 2-3 September 2007.
The Salvation Army is a worldwide Christian denomination known for its practical service to vulnerable communities.
The meeting will follow on directly from an International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) Congress, which takes place in the same venue from 28 August to 1 September.
The IASP in conjunction with the World Health Organisation will be acknowledging the centenary of The Salvation Army's work in suicide prevention at their Congress in Ireland, under the patronage of Mary McAleese, President of Ireland.
The Salvation Army was the first organisation in the world to provide suicide prevention programmes when its founder, William Booth, established a suicide prevention bureau in the UK in 1907.
Commissioner Robert Street from Salvation Army International Headquarters will be a guest speaker at the opening of the IASP Congress.
The Salvation Army's International Conference on Suicide Prevention, subtitled 'Living Hope', will be chaired by Commissioner Christine MacMillan, the Church and charity's recently-appointed Director of the Social Justice Commission.
Other notable presenters include Dr Adrian Bonner, a Reader in the Institute of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Kent. He is founder and Director of the Addictive Behaviour Group and is also Director of the Institute for Alcohol Studies.
Dr Bonner's principal research has focused on mechanisms of brain damage and the role of nutritional factors in cognitive function. He is currently leading a Salvation Army review of Health, Healing and Wholeness.
In a letter to conference delegates, the leader of The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland, Commissioner John Matear, has spoken of the "importance of every person as being made in the image of God".
He continued: "The prevention of suicide through pastoral care and practical assistance is an important work. I commend the organisers of this conference for seeking to train and inspire."
Further details at: http://www1.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/www_uki.nsf
Information about the IASP Congress is available at: http://www.iasp2007.org