DoH Reveal Plan To Reduce Suicide Rates

A plan to reduce suicide rates in Northern Ireland by 10% over the next five years has been unveiled by the Department of Health.

The 'Project Life 2' strategy aims to deliver suicide prevention services and support, with a particular focus on deprived areas where rates are over 3.5 times higher.

Northern Ireland has the highest suicide rate in the UK, with five people dying each week.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride said: "The toll suicide takes is not just measured in lives lost and anguish for families and communities. There is also an estimated wider societal cost of £1.55m for each life lost. Right across government we must continue to prioritise investment in prevention."
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Some £8.7m is currently invested in suicide prevention each year. An additional £1.35m has been provided through the transformation programme this financial year.

Project Life 2 features a range of new and ongoing actions designed to tackle the issue, including greater focus on those bereaved by suicide, more support for those who care for others and enhanced working across Departments.

A 'Towards Zero Suicide' initiative has recently been introduced in all HSC Trusts, with a focus on patient safety in adult mental health. Similar initiatives in other parts of the world have seen significant decreases in suicide rates.

Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health Richard Pengelly said: "Suicide is preventable and not inevitable, yet almost every day in Northern Ireland a person takes their own life. Whilst suicide rates here have remained relatively stable over the last decade the level is without a doubt unacceptably high. How we address this is a challenge for all in government and society."


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