AN action plan to tackle suicide in Northern Ireland has been welcomed by Mid & East Antrim councillor Cheryl Johnston.
The Protect Life 2 strategy was released on Tuesday (10 September) by the Department of Health.
It outlines measures that will be taken to reduce suicide and self-harm in the next five years and examines the importance of working together on prevention.
Cllr Johnston previously put forward a motion to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to ‘recognise the very concerning level of deaths by suicide’ in 2017. It was unanimously supported by the chamber.
Cllr Johnston welcomed the release of the Protect Life 2 Strategy.
“I welcome the publication of the strategy which is a first step in reducing the number of deaths by suicide in Northern Ireland.
“Much more is needed however in order to tackle this problem. The most recent statistics show that between 2008 to 2017 there were 195 deaths in Mid and East Antrim by suicide.
“We want that figure to be zero and I hope this strategy helps us to get there.
“We have to look at how we adopt these principles and make a positive change. It is not something we can tackle alone.
“Suicide is preventable, but the factors that lead someone taking their own life are complex.
“That’s why I believe a multi-agency approach created at a strategic and operational level, will allow people to work together and help to prevent suicides.”