MLA urges reflection on suicide research

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin.
Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin.

Derry should reflect on research into deaths by suicide, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA and chair of the NI Health Committee Maeve McLaughlin has said.

Ms McLaughlin was speaking following a recent meeting of the Addiction Taskforce and in light of two recent studies by Ulster University.

A professor attended the meeting and presented her findings into suicide and factors that may have played a part in 1,677 cases of suicide in the North, and other studies.

“This is a subject that no-one really likes talking about because it a very emotional issue but I feel that if we are ever going find answers and put in place measures that can help prevent people from taking their lives then we must explore every avenue,” Ms McLaughlin said. “The latest research provided from the University of Ulster which looked at hundreds of cases here has given us some very clear statistics that people need to take cognisance of.”

The research revealed that 59% of those taking their own lives did not have alcohol in their toxicology report and that mental disorders are high in the North in comparison to other countries, as are the rates of substance disorders

In total, 8.2% of the deceased would have had diagnosed and undiagnosed substance disorders including alcohol, while 51.7% had prescribed medication relating to mental health disorder.

“The city needs to support early intervention work and develop a crisis intervention service with holistic approach and taking into account all the factors and reasons why people either attempt to or take their own lives,” Ms McLaughlin said.