Wednesday 02 October 2019 12:56:03 AM

Community and Voluntary Groups Key to Suicide Prevention Says Poots
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HEALTH Minister Edwin Poots has emphasized the important role community groups play in delivering frontline preventative services to tackle suicide.

Speaking during a visit to PIPS (The Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide) new premises on the Antrim Road in Belfast the Minister said: “In the past decade 70% of people who died by suicide had not been in touch with mental health services. dn_screen

“Clearly, a lot of people in serious emotional crisis are not accessing statutory mental health services that are there to help them and this is something that needs to be addressed. It also underlines the importance of the statutory and community sectors working together to provide a full range of suicide services.

“I firmly believe that Community Groups such as PIPS have a vital role in delivering frontline support as they are very often the first point of call for individuals in distress and their families.”

Acknowledging the work of the community groups the Minister went on to say: “Community groups who dedicate their time to improve mental well-being and reducing suicide must be commended. Communities are best placed to know what their specific issues and challenges are.”

Commenting on suicide trends the Minister added: “While the number of recorded deaths by suicide in Northern Ireland is down slightly from 313 deaths in 2010, we have some way to go in achieving a sustained long term reduction in suicide. This remains a priority for my Department. We will continue to work in partnership across government; and with communities, voluntary organisations, churches, businesses, and local agencies to achieve this outcome.”

Suicide is associated with socio-economic deprivation. Suicide rates in the most disadvantaged areas are almost twice the Northern Ireland average and three times greater than the least deprived areas. North Belfast, West Belfast, and Foyle have the highest suicide rates in Northern Ireland.