Alcohol Linked To Increased Suicides In NI

Alcohol and drug abuse has been linked to increasing suicide rates in Northern Ireland by an inquiry.

The Suicide and Homicide in Northern Ireland by People with Mental Illness report was commissioned by the Public Health Agency and conducted by the National Confidential Inquiry.

According to the inquiry, 313 people took their own lives in Northern Ireland last year - the highest figure ever recorded in Northern Ireland - and alcohol misuse was found to be a factor in 60% of these cases.

It also found that the number of suicides in Northern Ireland increased from 1998 to 2008.

The inquiry aims to improve mental health services in Northern Ireland and to help reduce the risk of suicide or homicide by people with mental illness.

Launching the report today, Health Minister Edwin Poots said: "Suicide presents a complex and deeply concerning challenge for all sectors of society in Northern Ireland. A total of 313 suicides were recorded here in 2010 - the highest figure ever recorded in Northern Ireland. Clearly suicide is an issue that is not going to go away.

"It is therefore crucial that we understand who is most at risk, the reasons why some people take a decision to end their lives, and what further actions we need to take to prevent suicide.

"The upward trend in these tragic deaths has occurred despite strenuous suicide efforts across the statutory, community and voluntary sectors. Frontline preventative services that respond promptly and effectively when epode are suicidal remain essential and I have therefore given a commitment to protect suicide prevention funding.

"However, broader long-term action across Government and all sectors of society is necessary to address the root cause of suicide. Early intervention for positive mental health and strong emotional resilience in young people, together with wider measures to improve quality of life are required."


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