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Saddness at Couty Tyrone deaths

14 June, 2007

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has expressed his "sorrow at the deaths of two young men at Gortin Lakes in County Tyrone and I want to extend my condolences to their families." Mr. Adams also expressed alarm at news reports claiming that 8 people have attempted suicide in the Shankill area of west Belfast in the last 24 hours. In the last few weeks several people have taken their own lives in the west Belfast constituency.

Mr. Adams called on Michael McGimpsey, the Minister for Health, to "take urgent action to extend and expand the current 24/7 helpline and referral service across the north".

Mr. Adams said:

"The levels of suicide and self-harm are increasing at a frightening rate. This is particularly true in west and north Belfast where the problem is most acute but it also touches every part of this island.

"Last year alone there were more than 600 reported deaths by suicide on the island of Ireland, a significant increase from the previous year. This figure does not take account of deaths not listed as suicide, or of the huge numbers of mainly young people who self harm.

"We must ensure that when people do seek help that the services are there to help them - services that must be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And these services must be tailored to suit the needs of our people.

"That means the current 24/7 helpline and referral service needs to be extended across the north

"We also need more community based services, more psychiatric nurses, more psychiatrists, more psychologists and all of this requires funding, planning and the political will to implement the report.

"It is also vital that this issue is pursued on an all-Ireland basis. Suicide knows no boundaries or borders and a joined up approach by the two health services on this island will ensure more resources are available to tackle this problem." ENDS

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