We need to do much more to help those in crisis says Ken Boyle -UKIP Assembly Candidate in North Belfast.
“I was privileged to be able to attend a suicide awareness event held at Stormont today. Suicide affects people from many different backgrounds and walks of life. Talking about suicide is often a cry for help and not necessarily a wish to die. It is a warning sign that should be listened to and acted upon.
“As someone who has experienced suicide and self-harm through friends, I am all too aware of the problems that people face. I believe that we need to be doing much more to become aware of the underlying causes of suicidal thoughts and we need to do more to attempt to reduce the reasons why this is often seen as the only solution.
“Recent figures have shown that suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 right across the UK, with 76% of all suicides in 2015 being men. Locally, the majority of suicides have been young men between the ages of 15 and 30. (ONS, NISRA, GRO) To put it into context, during the troubles here up until 1998, there were 3,300 murders. From 1998 to the present day there have been 3,400 suicides in Northern Ireland and suicide has been on the rise here in recent years. These are all frightening and deeply concerning statistics.
“Across the UK, more than 90% of all people who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death. Mental health matters and it is one of, if not the most pressing issue of our time.
There are valuable resources available. Services such as ContactNI (Lifeline number is 0808 808 8000) which is funded by the PHA is a 24 hour telephone service. More locally, FASA is an organisation that deals directly with people in crisis who deal with issues such as drugs, alcohol, self harm, suicidal thoughts and other mental health issues. FASA offers a service (open until 9PM each night) where people can call into their office on the Shankill Road, North. They also offer a 24/7 service in their new The Nightingale Crisis Support Centre (located on the Upper Newtownards Road.)
Commenting further, Mr. Boyle added:
“We need to do more to help those who are in crisis and vulnerable. When someone is calling out for help, offer them it -don’t turn them away. Let us stand together and stand up to the stigma around mental health.
Let’s put pressure on our politicians to improve mental health services and do more to address these serious issues and keep them at the top of the agenda.”