100s make their way to city centre to remember loved ones

By Kieran Hughes

Hundreds of people from North Belfast who have been affected by suicide came together at a range of events to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday.

The day began at dawn with the Out of the Darkness Into the Light march, where families bereaved by suicide walked from Ardoyne and Duncairn Gardens to meet other families from across Belfast at the city centre.

At 12.30pm suicide awareness campaigners held an Action 4 Change rally at the City Hall to urge government intervention to help stop the alarming rate of suicides in the North of the city. In the past month alone four local men have taken their own lives.

At 7pm, a special Mass was held at Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne to remember those who have lost their lives.

The day ended with a poignant lantern display where bereaved families across Ireland lit Chinese lanterns in memory of their loved ones.

Philip McTaggart from North Belfast-based suicide awareness group PIPS Programmes said one of the main focuses of the day, particularly the rally, was encouraging people who are feeling depressed to embrace life and seek the help that is available.

“We want people to embrace life. If they are having difficulties or problems then they should be able to ask for advice or support and that will help them to deal with the problems in their life,” he said.

“I believe we can save lives when people phone and ask for help.”

Philip added that PIPS are currently seeking volunteers to help them at their Duncairn Gardens base.

“We are looking for people who have the skills to become  part of our team. There will of course be an interview process but anyone who is interested should contact our office,” he said.

 

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