Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride has made clear that suicide prevention remains a priority for the Department of Health, with new initiatives continuing to be implemented.
Dr McBride said: “The new strategy – Protect Life 2 – has now been finalised but to date we have been unable to publish this without Ministerial endorsement.
“The Department is currently exploring all options to progress the strategy, and to enable further development of Protect Life services to support those most vulnerable in our society.
“Publication of the finalised Protect Life 2 strategy in its entirety would of course be beneficial; however, it would be totally wrong and misleading to suggest that support for those who need it is being compromised because of any delay in its publication.
“Not only would this be factually incorrect, it could send out a misleading and even potentially dangerous message to those in need. Help is available and much is being done to further develop services, despite pressures on resources across the health and social care system.
“Protect Life 2, as the name suggests, is an enhancement and development of an existing strategy, Protect Life. This strategy remains in place and its budget is protected. The Public Health Agency continues to invest over £8m a year to deliver suicide prevention, and emotional health and wellbeing services.
“In addition, a number of new suicide prevention initiatives which are part of Protect Life 2 are being funded separately under the wider transformation proposals.
“If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.
“This is a confidential service where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary.
“The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
You can also access the Lifeline website at :
or NI Direct at:
You can also talk to your GP for advice.