30 May 2006

Concern at teen suicides

Belfast Telegraph

By Debra Douglas
29 May 2006

Three young people have taken their lives in west Belfast in the last week, it emerged today.

A 15-year-old girl died on Saturday after taking an overdose just hours after teenager Christopher McKinney was buried after taking his own life.

And on Friday night, schoolboy Barry McNally was found dead in his Twinbrook home.

Sinn Fein MLA Michael Ferguson said it was a worrying increase. "I am extremely concerned about this development, especially when you consider that youth budgets have been dramatically sliced," he said.

"We should be investing in support services and outreach programmes to give our young people as much help as possible.

"The implementation to the Task Force recommendations is welcomed but much, much more still needs to be done."

Earlier this year, figures from the government's Suicide Task Force revealed that west Belfast is suffering more suicides than anywhere else in Northern Ireland. It said research needed to be carried out to see why the figures were to ascertain if they were any underlying factors at play which could be tackled.

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