Published Monday, 29 October 2012
Almost 500 people went to hospital in self abuse cases. (© UTV)
Health Minister Edwin Poots said the death rate by suicide is twice as high in deprived areas of Northern Ireland but added that work is ongoing to alleviate the problem.
He also disclosed that close to 500 people went to hospital emergency rooms in Belfast with deliberate self-harm this year.
Releasing the latest figures in response to a question from Sinn Féin's Sue Ramsey, Mr Poots said: "Sadly, this is reflective of trends experienced over the last five years and work, therefore, is ongoing to address the high levels of suicide in areas of Belfast.
"This includes awareness raising, promotion of help-seeking behaviour, bereavement support, training for 'gatekeepers', and provision of counselling and crisis support."
A local charity believes socio-economic factors are largely to blame for the deaths.
Sharon Quinn from Lighthouse said some support groups are facing budget cuts and a lack of resources, but added that they're working tirelessly.
She said: "It does hinder the work that could be done in terms of employing staff, whom you would like to have available to provide a constant response but it is not always possible."
The Health Department funds a free telephone support line and provides around £7m per year towards suicide prevention.
However the number of incidents has increased over recent years - from 138 suicides in 1997 for all of NI to 289 in 2011, with 74 taking place in Belfast.
People from deprived parts of the city are particularly vulnerable, with poor general health and few employment prospects.
And there has recently been seven suspected suicides in east Belfast in 10 days.
Research from Queen's University has also stated that survivors of some of the worst years of the Troubles are also more prone to taking their own lives.
© UTV News