Sinn Féin call for financial and practical support for organisations such as the Samaritans
Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MLA Mickey Brady has said that it was essential that groups like the Samaritans, who provide a 24 hour listening service 365 days a year helping to give people support and save lives, should receive whatever practical financial and other support resources possible.
The MLA confirmed that the issue would be discussed the issue at a forthcoming meeting Sinn Féin would be having with the Southern Health and Care Trust.
Mr Brady said:
"The Samaritans provide invaluable help and support to those in need. Their volunteers receive calls 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, 365 days-a-year. It has been recorded that Samaritans phone lines are busiest between 10pm and 2am in the morning. In the course of its 53 year-old history Samaritans have received calls from people as young as six and as old as 90.
"Ireland has the second highest incidence of suicide in Europe. More than 500 people die each year and more than 10,000 people present at A&E due to self-harm.
"It is one of the biggest causes of death of young people on this Island. Many people believe that the respective governments and agencies have completely failed to deal with this crisis and the result is that for many people who are at risk and their families, there is not appropriate help available.
"The Samaritans and self-help groups like PIPS Newry and Mourne have increased the awareness around the issues of suicide and self-harm, as well as reducing the stigma of suicide. They are working at grass root community level, using a bottom up approach to the issue of suicide and self harm.
"Myself and many others are convinced that such self help groups have a key role to play in the area of suicide prevention. It is vital that they are sustained and given support to continue to develop and deliver their much needed service." ENDS