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Delivery of a Suicide Prevention Strategy is key - Adams

20 June, 2005

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Gerry Adams this morning led a delegation of family members and community activists to meet the Minister for Health Shaun Woodward on the issue of suicide prevention.

Speaking after the meting Mr. Adams said:

"There is a lot of anger within the community at the failure of the Health system to tackle the issue of suicide prevention in a coherent and holistic fashion.

Last autumn we met the then Minister for Health and pressed her on the same matters.

The Minister this morning told us that he accepts that this issue must be a priority issue for the Health Service. He has planned a conference for August. He has also committed to coming back to us at a further meeting in November with a strategy on suicide prevention. We have heard this before.

This time must be different. This time we want delivery. Delivery on past promises made and delivery on the strategies, policies, resources, funding and campaigns to confront the growing and serious issue suicide and self-harm.

In the short term we need the obvious gaps in the system filled, for example, as the area of the north with the worst levels of suicide North and West Belfast should have a "crisis response team". Community groups are in the front line of dealing with those at risk and providing support for families. These groups need the resources to allow them to fulfil this crucial role. And the in the next few months we need to see the production and implementation of a suicide prevention strategy, on an all-Ireland basis, which begins the urgent work of getting to grips with this issue.

It is my intention to write to the Minister in the next few days to focus him and his department on the areas of immediate priority." ENDS

Note to Editor: There is a public consultation on Wednesday evening by the Department of Health on suicide prevention in Grosvenor Hall at 6.30pm

On Monday June 27th Sinn Féin is hosting a conference eon suicide prevention in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings at 1pm.

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