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Meeting learns of families’ pain

By Gemma Burns

The chair of a local community group, speaking after a key meeting, says members remain deeply concerned about the problem.

Brian Mullan, Chair of the Mater Hospital Community Forum, was speaking after the group held their monthly meeting in the boardroom of the hospital last Friday. During the meeting the group examined cuttings from the North Belfast News illustrating the heavy personal toll that suicide is taking on the community. .

They read about the plight of mothers such as Kate Ferrin, who lost her son Christopher ‘Cricky’ Scott-Ferrin to suicide in August 2010, five days after he spent eight hours in the Mater’s accident and emergency unit. And they read of how, almost a year to the day later, Cricky’s distraught cousin Kieran Ferrin faced the same long wait at the hospital, only being seen by an on-call doctor after spending five hours waiting.

After the latter incident, Kate joined with Emma Clinton and Angela Cairns, who have also lost their sons to suicide, to campaign for better mental health provision at the hospital.

Brian Mullan said his group was keen to raise the families’  concerns with the hospital.

“It was a good meeting here – we got stuck into the issues,” he said.

“We were raising our concerns about the problems with service in the Mater and the tragic situation whereby people aren’t being seen and are then taking their own lives.

“We used the NBN articles to show how it is affecting families. We will continue to voice our concerns and push for the resources the hospital needs so this doesn’t happen again,” added Brian.

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