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Help needed for grieving families' -Anderson MLA

4 July, 2007

Official support services should be immediately established in Derry to help families who have been bereaved by suicide, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said.

Ms Anderson was speaking ahead of a meeting of all the city's elected representatives on Friday to discuss a response to the issue of suicide. The Foyle MLA has already met with local health officials following the tragic death of 21-year-old student Louise Meenan and she is now calling for a family liaison coordinator to be appointed in each of the North's Health and Social Care Trusts to provide support to the family and friends of people who take their own lives.

"I welcome the fact that Friday's meting has been organised by the Mayor to discuss what is obviously an extremely serious and distressing issue,"

"When someone takes their own life, it affects a wide circle of people, not just the immediate family, but the reality is that there is not enough formal support available to them. There needs to be immediate on-call arrangements established through a family liaison co-ordinator who can provide support and counselling for those affected by suicide.

"That needs to happen immediately because the current situation around suicide is simply unacceptable. The fact that the 24-7 phoneline has been established is a positive move but this needs to be backed up with proper support and services as soon as possible."


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