Twinbrook Fixers tackle suicide issue

Twinbrook Fixers tackle suicide issue

A group of teenagers from west Belfast who have all been personally affected by suicide are leading a new campaign to raise awareness.

The six boys, aged from 16 to 17, lost their 13-year-old friend Martin Rooney two years ago.

They have now set up the Twinbrook Fixers campaign, which is part of a national movement aimed at tackling the issue of suicide.

Concerned at the number of cases in their area, they plan to go to local schools and youth clubs to spread the message that talking, rather than suicide, is the answer when feeling low.

Sean McAteer, who is leading the group, says he wishes there had been somebody he could talk to who knew what he was going through when his friend Martin died.

Losing Martin has been a big loss and has had a tragic effect on me and my friends.

Sean McAteer

He continued: "We were all thinking could we have done anything else to stop him? It was really heartbreaking."

The number of suicides in Northern Ireland has been rising since 2006. According to Health Minister Edwin Poots, around 300 people die by suicide each year.

Fixers, which started in England in 2008, hopes to recruit more than 2,300 members in NI by March 2016, and is already working with over 100 young people. Some of the areas it covers include domestic violence, body image, cyber-bullying and dangerous driving.

Sean urged those who are feeling down not to bottle up their feelings.

He continued: "We want to help people who are down and depressed and might be thinking about suicide themselves.

"We were lucky enough to have each other to turn to but it's a disgrace that support isn't available elsewhere.

"Fixers has been brilliant because we have been given a voice. If we get our message across to one person it means that we could save a life - and that will make us and our whole community feel so proud."

© UTV

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