Alarming’ Increase Reported In Suicide Rate

Alarm has been expressed at a 37 per increase in the suicide rate in the North over the past year. In the latest mortality statistics there were 291 registered suicides in 2006 compared with 213 in 2005.

Ógra Shinn Féin National Organiser, Barry McColgan said he is ‘shocked’ and ‘alarmed’ by the statistics. However he said that “this trend will continue unless the governments take this issue on board and invest money into mental health services and into bodies aimed at helping vulnerable people in society.”

He said, “We in Ógra Shinn Féin had written to both Paul Goggins and Mary Harney calling for the implementation of an all Ireland suicide prevention strategy. We believed it was nonsensical investing money into two different strategies when the common sense approach would be to implement an all Ireland strategy on the issue, where resources and results could be achieved collectively.”

He said whilst Paul Goggins refused to meet Ógra, the Department of Social Services initiated a consultation process and released a document entitled Suicide Prevention in Northern Ireland- A New Focus.

Mr McColgan said, “We believe it lacked the all island dimension, which we believed would be best used to seriously address this issue. These latest statistics must act as a wake up call to ministers that this major issue must be addressed immediately. Lives are at risk, that is the reality of the situation. I would ask the health departments, north and south, to make more money available for mental health and suicide prevention.”

“Suicide is one of the biggest killers of young people on this island and must be addressed without delay. However, it is regrettable that such statistics have to be made public before ministers will sit up and take notice.”