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Youth Suicide report confirms system is failing

19 October, 2004

Commenting after the publication this morning of a new report into suicide among the young, Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Kathy Stanton said 'the stark fact that suicide accounted for one third of all deaths in the 15 - 24 age group in Ireland was evidence that the system was failing young people'.

Ms Stanton said:

" Today's report highlights again what many of us working with young people have been saying for sometime. The system is failing our young people and others at risk of self-harm. The stark fact contained in this report that one third of deaths in the age group 15 - 24 are a result of suicide is evidence of that.

"Last week I was part of a joint Sinn Féin and community sector meeting with the Health Minister Angela Smith to discuss the issue of youth suicide particularly in North and West Belfast. In these two areas the rate of suicide in our communities is 50% higher than average and the people most at risk are our young people.

"Last week we asked the Minister for Health to lead the exchange in information, understanding and best practice by identifying Suicide Prevention as a priority area for co-operation between the Department of Health in the six counties, and its counterpart in the 26 counties, under the auspices of the North-South Ministerial Council.

"The reality on the ground as demonstrated by the figures contained in the report launched by the Chief Medical Officer this morning means that we can no longer carry on as we have done. Action is urgently required. "ENDS

Note to Editor

The delegation of political and community representatives who met with Angela Smith last week included Gerry Adams MP MLA, Cllr Fra McCann MLA (West Belfast), Kathy Stanton MLA (North Belfast); Patricia McQuillan (Lenadoon Counselling Project), Mairead Gilmartin (Suicide Awareness Group), Phil McTaggart and Jo Murphy (PIPS, Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide)

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