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Ramsey welcomes Health Committee Inquiry into suicide and self-harm

19 May, 2008

Ms Ramsey said,

"The problem of suicide has blighted our community's right across the North with about 195 people taking their own lives each year and around 4,500 people admitted to hospital either having tried suicide or self harm.

"We need to deploy a strategy that will effectively address the issues pertaining to suicide, especially amongst our young people and this inquiry by the Health Committee has come up with a 26 recommendations that now need to be implemented so that further tragedies are averted.

"Too many people die as a result of suicide. In recent, months we have seen a number of young people take their own lives. It is essential that those providing care in hospitals, GP practices and in the community are fully trained and resourced to help those at risk of suicide.

"One of the main recommendations is the issue of long term ring fenced funding that came up time and time again. A number of groups expressed grave concerns about the level of funding and the uncertainly for their groups and we need to ensure that these monies are used on the ground with groups that are making an impact in preventing suicides and its causes.

"In the course of our inquiry a number of issues came up, including the need to recognise that one size does not fit all and the strategy needs to be refined to take account of the suicide risk among older people and those living in rural areas.

"The regional suicide prevention strategy needs to be implemented and it is imperative that lessons are learned and strategic and policy changes are made to avert another tragedy

"I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the families and those within the community and voluntary sector for their involvement in this inquiry but also for their commitment either directly or indirectly in trying to ensure that the levels of suicide and self harm are reduced within our communities."

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