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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Northern Ireland suicide rates showing signs of decline

Written by The Editorial Team

The most recent figures show suicide rates in Northern Ireland are declining, but Health Minister Jim Wells has warned against complacency.

Mr Wells was speaking as he chaired the 11th meeting of the Ministerial Co-ordination Group on Suicide Prevention.

Speaking at the meeting, the Minister said: "The provisional figures for Jan-Dec 2014 show 268 registered deaths by suicide. This represents a very welcome decrease from 303 in 2013.

"Some studies have suggested recent rises in the suicide rate in many European countries, particularly among males, may be linked to the difficult global economic situation. The decline in the number of suicides in 2014 in Northern Ireland is encouraging and is evidence that the excellent work in implementing the Protect Life Strategy is having an effect, however we must not be complacent.

"To reduce suicide in the longer term it will be necessary to improve the emotional resilience of high risk people/groups before they become actively suicidal. This will require action on a wide range of fronts across Government and across sectors."

At the meeting, Minister Wells updated members on the development of a new Suicide Prevention/Mental Health Promotion Strategy and received an update from each Minister on the on-going work in their Department and agencies, to reduce suicide rates.

The Minister continued: "I am greatly encouraged by the commitment shown by the Executive on this matter. We all have a part to play and as Ministers, we can develop innovative ways of addressing suicide and helping people to maintain positive mental health.

"Losing one person to suicide is a tragedy for the whole family circle. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the friends and families of those lost to suicide."