Ballymena councillor urges Secretary of State to implement suicide strategy

Eugene Reid

BALLYMENA councillor Eugene Reid is calling on the new Secretary of State to take action to ensure the immediate implementation of the Protect Life 2 strategy.

The SDLP representative is urging Julian Smith to place the suicide and mental health crisis in Northern Ireland at the top of his agenda.

The most recent statistics show that 195 people took their own lives in Mid and East Antrim between 2008 and 2017.

“More needs to be done in terms of services being put in place to help those most in need,” explained Councillor Reid.

“There is amazing work going on out there but we are at the grip of an epidemic and there is no time to waste.

“In recent weeks we have seen reports of multiple deaths throughout Northern Ireland, in particular in Belfast, due to suicide.

“Northern Ireland urgently needs a fit for purpose suicide strategy so we can properly resource support services and networks for some of the most vulnerable members of society.

“I would appeal to the Secretary of State to personally intervene to explore all options around how this can be progressed as a matter of urgency.”

The Protect Life 2 strategy identifies 10 priorities for the strategy to target ranging from reduction of self-harm to identifying emerging suicide clusters and reducing risk of further associated suicides in the community.

It has also focused on achieving the priorities through core principles for strategic action such as being evidence-based, collaboration with other bodies, co-ordination across government and achieving measurable outcomes amenable to evaluation.

Councillor Reid added: “The prevalence of mental health issues is 25% higher here than any other region of the UK, however, the funding is significantly lower.

“It is completely unacceptable that we stand still and do nothing when we are faced with such horrendous hurt and pain within communities.”

Leave a reply