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Support Suicide Awareness Events in Derry-Anderson

7 September, 2007

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has urged people to support a series of planned events by a number of groups in the greater Bogside and Creggan areas that have come together to raise awareness about the services available in the local community and to encourage and support people to look after their mental health and well-being.

The groups have been meeting since July in an effort to get local residents thinking and talking constructively about the impact of suicide on the family and the community.

Ms Anderson said:

"I would urge people to support the events that will take place in Derry next week to raise community awareness of the services available and encourage and support people to look after their mental health and well-being.

"There is a clear need for help and support for families and others living with someone who may be contemplating taking their own life, self harming or who may suffer from mental health illnesses. It is heartbreaking to see so many families devastated in the aftermath of a relative taking their own life. We must ensure that whatever advice, help and support are needed by families is found and that there is more back up services made available.

"I will continue to personally crusade on this issue alongside families bereaved through suicide. When an average of 500 people take their own lives every year that is a national crisis. Like the deaths on our roads both the British and Irish government need to tackle this crisis head on.

"There is still a serious problem in under-provision of psychiatric and community services for children, adolescents and young adults in the six counties. We now need to see a strategic shift in the Health service response to suicide prevention. The outworking of the regional suicide prevention strategy must involve urgency in relation to care and support services for children and young people." ENDS

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