Suicide Helpline should be extended - Adams
Sinn Féin President and West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has called for the extension of the suicide awareness helpline across the north. The helpline was set up four weeks ago for north and west Belfast after a long campaign and it has report 650 calls in that short period.
The Sinn Fein MP has also called on mobile phone networks to voluntarily agree to make calls by young people to the helpline free.
Mr. Adams said:
"There can be no doubt that the helpline has saved lives. It is currently running on an inadequate shoestring budget. What is now needed are the additional resources which will allow the project to develop to its full potential.
I have written to Paul Goggins the Health Minister asking that the helpline be extended across the north. I have also asked that he use all of the influence available to the British government to persuade all of the mobile phone providers to agree to the helpline being available free to mobile phone users most of whom are young people. The phoneline is part of an emergency referral to support services which people at risk of suicide need to access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I will be meeting with Mr. Goggins in January to discuss these and other related matters, including the introduction of proper training and protocols in suicide awareness for health professionals and current plans for a scheduled all-Ireland information campaign on suicide awareness."ENDS