Monday 18 March 2019 05:32:53 PM

Rogers Wins Stormont Backing to Combat Suicides
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SDLP South Down MLA Seán Rogers has called for more strategic work to be undertaken across the NI Executive to help combat suicide.

Mr Rogers, who co-sponsored a cross-party Assembly motion calling for such support as part of Stormont’s marking of World Suicide Prevention Day, said during the debate.

“Everyone who takes their own life is looking for a way to end the pain that they are labouring under, but it is our duty to help support the vulnerable and the hurting and help guide them towards a resolution that does not result in a needless death.

SouthDown MLA Sean Rogers has called on the Executive to develop a more strategic approach to deal with suicides in Northern Ireland.

“We live in a stressful world which sometimes spins too fast for some of us to cope with but we do not have a culture of asking for help – we need to develop one.

“We live in a world of expanding information – information about ways to seek help and assistance, but also malign information, especially online, about ways and means to take one’s own life – we need to find ways to combat those sites that promote death over healing

“We live in a world where it is easier and cheaper than ever to contact friends on the other side of the planet, but we are taking less and less interest in our communities and neighbours – we need to encourage a culture of respectful interest in the world around us.

“Those of us who can do something legislatively to help those in the grip of the worst kind of despair owe it to them to offer our practical assistance.

“It is through items of business like this afternoon’s motion to mark World Suicide Prevention Day that we can set the ball rolling on creating a proper cross-departmental approach to promoting the Executive’s Protecting Life strategy and making sure that the societal scourge of suicide is diminished in favour of guidance, advice and practical help.

“That, and campaigns like that to combat so-called ‘suicide kits’ launched by Mrs Patti Boyle, a constituent of mine whose son took his own life by using a kit available for purchase on the Internet, will all work to ensure that those at their lowest ebb have access to a helping hand before they lay harmful hands on themselves.”

Speaking at the summation of the debate, South Down MLA Jim Wells who supported the motion congratulated Sean Rogers in bringing the issue forward for action to the Executive, and added that “Suicide affects us all – in touches on all departments of government. Therefore we need a joined up approach to prevent suicide. If anyone has a potential towards suicide then action needs to be taken immediately.

“In my South Down constituency, I know of  vehichles being used by people to commit suicide . The statistics may be worse than we thought it was. Relations too are haunted for the rest of their lives and we must  provide support for them too.

“I am aware that there were fewer suicides during the Troubles which have now left many people in a deep state of poor mental health. We are also going through a very difficult time economically and this is very worrying. I know of one person who worked for the Samaritans in the front line and eventually could not cope with the stress of the many suicide cases presenting. I also commend the work of PIPS in working also to combat suicide.

“We must all work together to tackle this scourge in our society,” added Mr Wells.