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Sinn Féin MLA meets Minister and Chief Medical Officer concerning suicide and self-harm

21 March, 2012 - by Sue Ramsey

Sinn Féin MLA and chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Sue Ramsey had a meeting yesterday with the Health Minister Edwin Poots and Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride to discuss suicide, self-harm and the protect life strategy.

After the meeting Sue Ramsey said:

“I asked for this meeting and while it was disappointing to learn that the Ministerial sub group on suicide and self-harm has not met from January 2010, it was a constructive meeting.

“We covered a series of issues and it is good news that the roll out of SD1 (sudden death) forms will be in place by the end of March 2012.

“Advertising campaigns, learning from those used in Scotland, will also take place. There will be opportunities to use events like the Olympics 2012, the Titanic celebrations or the Derry City of Culture, to raise awareness and promote positive messages while the Health Department has met with DCAL and Sport NI to discuss how sports stars can be used as role models.

“In relation to the Protect Life Strategy a refreshed approach will be produced to take us to the end of 2013 with an evaluation of the Strategy being published in the summer of 2012. This will hopefully inform future policy direction in relation to this pressing issue

“One major concern raised was the fact that we must examine closely and define clusters against the fact that the existing boundaries between trusts or constituencies are not adequately reflecting the reality on the ground in terms of tackling the issue of suicide.

“We need to ensure that there are joined-up approaches between trusts so nobody falls through an administrative gap.”

In the interim Sue Ramsey proposed that the Health Committee write to all the relevant Ministers to ask for an update on what their Departments are doing on suicide and self-harm.

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