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Plan published to reduce NI’s suicide rate by 10 per cent

Sinn Féin MLA Órlaithí Flynn Sinn Féin MLA Órlaithí Flynn
By Ciara Quinn

THE Department of Health has published its long-awaited Protect Life 2 suicide prevention with plans to reduce the suicide rate by 10 per cent over the next five years.
The strategy aims to dispel the myths around suicide, including the suggestion that most happen suddenly and without warning. The prevention states that early intervention can make a real difference.
The North has the highest suicide rate in the UK, with five people dying each week.
Among the 10 objectives and 44 actions contained in the plan is ensuring suicide prevention services and support are delivered appropriately in deprived areas where suicide and self-harm rates are highest.
The strategy secured cross-departmental support and additional funding of £1.35 million through the transformation programme. Total funding on suicide prevention in this financial year stands at £9 million. Charities had hoped there would be at least £3 million in additional funds.
The document states that full implementation of the strategy will require additional funding in the future.
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on mental health and suicide prevention, Órlaithí Flynn said: “Suicide has a devastating impact on individuals and communities and the tragic loss of each life is a stark reminder of that.
“I would like to commend all the community and voluntary groups who work tirelessly to protect and save lives in their local communities.”
The permanent secretary of the Department of Health, Richard Pengelly, said suicide levels were unacceptably high.
“How we address this is a challenge for all in government and society. I am pleased that permanent secretaries across the civil service have indicated their support for this strategy,” he said.
The strategy aims to target those who self-harm and their families, those who are in emotional crisis or who are already suicidal and their families. It also plans to bring more services into hospitals.

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