10/07/2006

Minister announces 'Family Forum' on suicide prevention

Health Minister Paul Goggins has announced the establishment of a Family Forum for relatives bereaved by suicide.

The Forum will give families a key role in implementing Northern Ireland’s Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Speaking at PIPS House, in North Belfast, Mr Goggins said: “We all have a responsibility to respond to the tragedy of suicide and self-harm. I am grateful to PIPS for giving me this opportunity to see the valuable work that they do, in saving lives and supporting those affected by suicide and self-harm.

“Families bereaved by suicide have played a key role in establishing ‘Protect Life - A Shared Vision’, which is the suicide prevention strategy for Northern Ireland. I want to re-assure all bereaved families that I am deeply committed to implementing all the recommendations in the suicide prevention strategy.

“Families will play a key role in helping to implement the strategy and holding us to our commitments, which is why I am establishing a Families Forum.

“The Families Forum will be able to nominate representatives to sit on the Suicide Strategy Implementation Body. Bereaved families will have a major say in the way the strategy is introduced. I look forward to working with them and share their commitment to reduce suicide and self harm in Northern Ireland.”

In 2005, 213 suicides were registered in Northern Ireland, just over 40% of these are young men aged under 35 years.

The PIPS project was established in 2003 in response to high levels of suicide in North Belfast, and the lack of available support for those bereaved by suicide and those in crisis.

Further Information on the PIPS Project can be found at www.pipsproject.com.

The Families Forum will hold its first meeting in late July/Early August, and it will nominate representatives to sit on the forthcoming Suicide Strategy Implementation Body.

The Suicide Strategy Implementation Body will oversee and co-ordinate the implementation of the Northern Ireland Suicide Prevention Strategy, and will be established during August 2006.

(SP/KMcA)

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