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Adams Praises efforts on Suicide Awareness and extends sympathy to family of latest victim

26 February, 2007

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP today praised the efforts of all those, but especially the families, who are working hard to raise awareness around the increasing problem of suicide.

The west Belfast MP will today launch the 'Reaching Out' campaign at the start of Suicide Awareness Week on the Whiterock Road. The campaign has been organised by the Westrock Parent and Youth Support Group.

The campaign is launched as it emerges that another young person from west Belfast died at the weekend as a result of suicide.

Mr. Adams extended his deepest sympathy to the family of the young man.

The west Belfast MP congratulated the Westrock Parent and Youth Suicide Support Group for their ongoing efforts to raise awareness around the issue of suicide.

He said:

"The statistics on suicide, particularly in west and north Belfast, are frightening. Suicide is the largest killer of our young people. There were 645 reported deaths by suicide across this island in the year 2004 to 2005. The death toll from suicide is greater than the number of people killed in traffic accidents in the same period.

"Families and communities are devastated by the pain of loved ones taking their own lives.

"Every effort must be made to ensure that adequate resources, funding and training is available to tackle this issue, and to help bereaved families and groups like the Westrock Parent and Youth Support Group. They deserve our full support. The mural, and Posters and Help Cards being launched today are an excellent initiative. But they can be only one part of the response.

"Because this is an all-Ireland problem it requires an all-Ireland strategic approach.

"Specifically it should be made an area of co-operation under the auspices of the North-South Ministerial Council. This should be an issue of priority for the Irish Minister for Health Ms Harney and the current British direct rule Minister Paul Goggins, or his local successor in the event of the Executive being re-established." ENDS

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