31/10/2012

Communities Vital In Suicide Prevention

Health Minister Edwin Poots has said communities have a vital role to play in the prevention of suicide in Northern Ireland.

Minister Poots’s comments came as a report was published into the 'Protect Life' suicide prevention strategy which stated community relations can play a large part in reducing suicide rates

He said: "Suicide continues to destroy too many lives in Northern Ireland and devastates families for decades. We need to know that what we are doing makes a positive impact and that resources are used as efficiently as possible to combat suicide.

"That is why this evaluation is so important. The recommendations will help inform the development of new suicide prevention policy going forward."

The investigation also stressed the importance of front-line services in helping those who are in serious emotional distress.

It said the long term reduction of suicide is dependent upon cross-departmental and cross-sectoral working to address the underlying social issues that contribute to increased risk.

The Minister said: "Despite my Department having invested over £32m in suicide prevention since 2006, the suicide rate has not fallen over this period. However, I have no doubt that lives have been saved and that a range of adverse social factors have impeded efforts to reduce the number of deaths.

"We will continue to strive against suicide, taking into account the lessons learned from this evaluation in order to focus efforts where they will have the greatest impact."

He added: "However, I have said before that this is not something that my Department can tackle in isolation. We need to think innovatively about what more we can do across Government and the community to reduce the rate of suicide in our community."

(IT)

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