Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast, Jennifer McCann, has welcomed the commitment from the Health Minister to safeguard the funding for suicide prevention services. The Minister made the announcement following a visit to Suicide Awareness and Support Group in West Belfast.
Speaking today Ms McCann said:
“The news that funding for suicide prevention services is to be protected is very welcome. The fact that the Health Minister also chose a group in West Belfast to announce this places the focus where it should be, with those at the coal face of dealing with suicide intervention, prevention and with the victims of suicide and their families.
“The work these groups carry out on the ground is invaluable. However we must also see a wider approach taken to the issue of suicide. These groups cannot operate and tackle the problem on their own.
“We need to see increased funding for mental health services in our hospitals, a greater awareness campaign needs to be established on the issue of suicide and we need to tackle the root causes of suicide which leaves people feeling they have no choice.
“If we are truly to address the problems that people face and that place them in a vulnerable position we must look to address the problems of poverty and social exclusion and preventative measures.
“Mental health can be boosted by proper living conditions, opportunities, feelings of self worth and education to name but a few.
“This is the real comprehensive, cross cutting approach that is needed and I am urging the Executive to table this issue with urgency and reach consensus on a multi-departmental approach."