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Adams - suicide prevention strategy urgently needed

27 April, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said a fully resourced, community-based suicide prevention strategy is a priority in the six counties.

He was speaking as community groups and families bereaved through suicide protested at today's meeting of the North and West Health and Social Service Trust. In the last week, there have been more deaths by suicide in west Belfast. There is evidence that recent cuts in funding to community counselling provision have reduced support to those at risk of taking their lives:

Mr Adams said:

"Suicide is causing more fatalities than road traffic accidents. West Belfast has been disproportionately affected by suicide. The community in west Belfast is angry at the apparent indifference to the cycle of deaths in this community.

"The British minister with responsibility for health conceded to me that mental health services in West Belfast are under-funded by more than £2million. However, the Department of Health have yet to come up with the money to fill this gap in community support.

"If suicide is a national disaster in Ireland, we urgently need a national disaster plan. That must be a priority. The Health Departments in Belfast and Dublin must begin to realise that the public want urgent, strategic action on suicide prevention."ENDS

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