'15 suicides in Belfast' since July

Published Monday, 29 October 2012
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There have been 15 suspected suicides in Belfast since July, it has been revealed.

'15 suicides in Belfast' since July
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
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5 Comments
S.B. in Belfast wrote (638 days ago):
This is dreadful and it's only going to get worse. I have never seen as much despair about the place and so many unhappy looking people. A lot of folks are struggling badly, even people who are lucky to work, and there is very little enjoyment in their lives. When life becomes a chore hope quickly disappears, the mind starts to go into dark places and often this is the result. Next year there are massive changes to the Benefits system and genuine people are going to suffer because of it. Yes there are drugs about the place but I don't believe that is the major problem; the suicide rate is highest in the 35 - 45 age group and it is just the hard grind of daly life that is driving many people off the rails and some to take their own lives.
Tommy Atkins in London England wrote (638 days ago):
Strange that alcohol has not been mentioned as a possible contributing factor. Please read the stats on teenage drinking in Ireland VS the rest of Europe
Ryan in Belfast wrote (639 days ago):
Theres a serious problem of suicide in Ireland and, especially in times of economic difficulty, funds must be available (not cut) to all those health services and groups that deal in areas of mental health, suicide, etc. I think more in terms of education must be done in order to teach people how to cope better with problems, i know thats easier said than done. No one in society should feel as if theres no help out there because there is.
barbara brown in east belfast wrote (639 days ago):
im not suprised at the number of suicides in belfast alot of people are unemployed and like myself trying to survive on jobseekers which at the end of the day not enough to live on . im a single parent and it the christmas time that gets me down its such a difficult time of year and makes me very stressed. the goverment has come down to hard on the unemployed and has made it difficult to the stage you sometimes dont have any money left by the end of your 2nd week . there are no jobs and if you apply for one ther is at least 50 also in for the same job. so its a bleak out look for everyone . prices going up and not enough coming in so i think alot of problems stem from this . im a strong person and just cope but there are people out there that cant do that or see away forward . more needs to be done to suppot people on the poverty bracket belive me ther is lots out there. its a scary situation and its going to get harder.
Hmmm in Belfast wrote (639 days ago):
It's well known that in "deprived parts of the city" certain people run the place, it's a well known fact that these people have driven a lot of people to suicide with their bully boy antics. Why no mention of paramilitaries in this article ? It's not an easy task but I feel that if these mafioso where out of the picture people in those areas would have a lot better quality of life. Who knows how many lives could be saved.
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