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Adams Demands That Suicide Counselling Gap Is Closed

12 May, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today backed a call by families affected by suicide and the Lenadoon Community Counselling Service for more funds for counselling services after they were forced to protest this morning at a meeting of the Eastern Health and Social Services Board.

Mr Adams said:

"It is a disgrace that families of those bereaved through suicide are forced onto the streets and into Health and Social Services Board meetings to demand adequate funding for counselling services. The Lenadoon Community Counselling Service is currently resourced to deal with up to 30 cases each week yet is regularly dealing with over 100 people in need in any one week. That is the scale of this problem.

"Alarmingly there is evidence that recent cuts in funding to community counselling provision have reduced support to those at risk of taking their lives.

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

"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 Health Departments in Belfast and Dublin must begin to deliver urgent, strategic action on suicide prevention." ENDS

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