20 February 2006

Suicide prevention petition


Families bereaved through suicide gather signatures for a petition calling for more action and targeted services to deal with the problem in West and North Belfast

Families who have been bereaved through suicide assembled at the City Hall on Friday to gather signatures for a petition calling for more services to tackle the high rate of suicide in Belfast and across the North.

The petition is being put forward by the Suicide Awareness Support Group and it is hoped that health trusts and the Minister for Health Shaun Woodward will take serious action to deal with the high rate of suicide.

The group has also recently delivered 50,000 information booklets on the issue of suicide in West and North Belfast and on the Shankill.

“It would be more beneficial to be able to lobby and petition a local MLA Health Minister at Stormont, as we vote for them, they are there to represent and fight for our concerns and needs especially in relation to proper health care,” said Margaret Seawright from the Suicide Awareness Support Group.

“Unfortunately at this time it is not the case. The sooner political parties are able to deal with our local concerns and issues effectively the better,” she added.

Siobhan Boyle from the group said that suicide is preventable and appealed to those who are suicidal to seek help.

“You probably won’t want to hear that tomorrow is another day but I promise you will see the sun again,” said Siobhan.

“Whatever it is that is bothering you, please, please speak up and seek some help. Please choose life, suicide can be preventable and the first step towards reducing suicide is to raise awareness of the subject and to encourage people who are feeling suicidal to seek help.”

Siobhan says that suicide causes a massive impact.

“Once a suicide occurs in a community it raises very strong feelings among the families, extended families, friends and workmates and it causes a ripple effect,” said Siobhan.

“The feelings aroused are a sense of loss, rejection, disillusionment and anger. After talking to all involved we have all come to the conclusion that there needs to be something done to help.

“Please talk to someone if you are having a bad time and please use the numbers provided,” she added.

The Suicide Awareness Support Group meets every Tuesday at 7.30pm in the Falls Women’s Centre.

Journalist:: Staff Journalist

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