Launch of Suicide Down to Zero Strategic Plan 2019 -2022.
Suicide Down to Zero is a charity which was set up in Downpatrick in 2014. At that time, and almost every year since, the number of suicide deaths in Northern Ireland exceeded three hundred per year.
Co-Founder Pat McGreevy, speaking in the Nautilus Centre in KIlkeel at the launch, said: “The charity believes that a radical new approach to suicide must be adopted and central to that is the belief that the only acceptable goal for suicide prevention efforts is zero deaths.”
“On July 1st 2019 Newry Mourne and Down became the first local council to adopt a suicide down to zero policy. We hope other local councils will follow this lead.
“Suicide Down to Zero has developed its strategic plan for the next three years which sets out how the charity will seek to realise the mission of zero deaths across Newry Mourne and Down area, in the first instance. Every year in Newry Mourne and Down an average of twenty five people die by suicide which is the second highest only to Belfast in terms of suicide deaths.
“Our charity believes that merely encouraging distressed people to seek help is not enough. The onus is on those around the individual to pick up on the signs and ask clearly and directly about suicide. The film is entitled “You need to ASK”
At the launch the charity outlined a toolkit that individuals can take away to guide them how to enable their organisations become suicide down to zero ones. Suicide Down to Zero will provide recognition to these organisations if the seven essential elements are adequately addressed . A short film clip on suicide prevention was shown.
Hazzard commends suicide awareness strategy.
South Down Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has congratulated the Suicide Down to Zero campaign on launching a new strategy to save lives in the Newry, Mourne and Down area.
Mr Hazzard said: “I was pleased to speak this morning at the launch of the launch of Suicide Down to Zero’s strategic plan for the years ahead.
“There can be few families and people in our society who have not been touched with the pain of suicide either directly or indirectly.
“Suicide Down to Zero is now building on the fantastic work it has already done on raising awareness on suicide prevention and has now launched this strategy aimed at saving lives by reducing the numbers of people who die by suicide in the Newry, Mourne and Down area to zero.
“This seven-point plan aims to support groups and individuals who are working in the field of suicide prevention and ultimately save lives.
“I want to commend everyone working to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention and to remind people there is always help out there and there is always hope.”
Cllr Patrick Brown Supports Initiative.
Speaking after the launch, Cllr Patrick Brown said: “It was great to be able to attend Suicide Down to Zero’s Strategic plan launch in Kilkeel last week.
“I was lucky to be there right at the start of the formation of this group and it’s fantastic to see how they’ve grown as a campaigning and advocacy organisation, raising awareness of the need to literally bring suicide down to zero right across the District.
“They were instrumental in crafting the motion I brought to Council in July which established NMD as the first Council in NI to adopt the Suicide Down to =Zero approach, as well as setting up a suicide prevention working group and funding stream for suicide prevention projects.”