The Letterkenny Centre of Excellence salon team has gained a vital new set of skills.

The team at Patrick Gildea Hairdressing are no strangers to self-development and educational training, however they took it one step further last week and participated in the SafeTALK alertness training programme to become suicide-alert helpers.

The team at Patrick Gildea Hairdressing are the first hairdressers in the country to undertake such training and, given their profession and close contact with the public, it’s training that will no doubt prove invaluable.

Patrick Gildea Hairdressing Team at their recent Safetalk training programme

Salon owner Patrick Gildea said that when he was first introduced to SafeTALK, he instantly knew it was something that he would like his team to take part in. Hairdressers, bar staff and taxi drivers have been named as key personnel for this type of training given their close contact with the public.

Commenting on the training, Patrick Gildea said: “The training was delivered by Kevin Mills and Tommy Ronaghan here in the salon to an exceptionally high standard. I would urge all hairdressers to take part in this training.

“Feedback from the whole team is very positive, they feel like they can be more open in discussing issues such as suicide and also feel that they have gained the necessary tools to recognise invitations and sign post individuals if required”.

SafeTALK is a half day training programme that prepares participants to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources. These specific skills are called suicide alertness and are taught with the expectation that the person learning them will use them to help reduce suicide risk in their communities.

Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive.

SafeTALK-trained helpers can recognise these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources, such as caregivers trained in ASIST.

For more information on SafeTALK see