Sinn Féin Calls For All-Ireland Suicide Prevention Agency

Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, has praised all those in Ireland that "work hard every day of the week to reduce suicide".

Mr Adams made the comment in a speech to make Work Suicide Prevention Day, using the occasion to also call for the creation of an "all-Ireland Suicide Prevention Agency to tackle this issue in a co-ordinated and effective fashion".

Mr Adams said: "According to the most recent statistics available for suicide in this state, 459 persons - 368 males and 91 females - took their own lives in 2014. During the same period there were 62 undetermined deaths which in the north and in other countries are normally counted as suicide.

"At the same time around 300 citizens in the north die each year from suicide.

"It is generally accepted that the real figure for suicide is higher and that as many as 1000 citizens die across this island each year by suicide.

"The human cost of this on families and communities is devastating.

"The reality is that all sections and all generations of our society are affected, from the very young to the very old, and in rural and urban areas.

"Self-harming is also a huge issue in Irish society today. Thousands are admitted to hospitals every year as a result of self-harm which in many cases go unreported.

"While much good work has been done in recent years in raising awareness, developing suicide prevention strategies and producing reports, more needs to be done. In particular suicide, like all mental health matters, does not receive the budget or attention that is required to tackle this scourge.

"For example compare the 194 road deaths last year with the 459 deaths by suicide.

"One significant contribution to tackling suicide and self-harm would be greater co-operation between the health services north and south. In particular the creation an all-Ireland Suicide Prevention Agency that would co-ordinate the work of all of those involved would bring immediate benefits."


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