SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey has paid tribute to the diverse range of organisations working to tackle suicide and raise awareness of the effects of depression and the need for positive mental health.
He said: “The prevalence of suicide unfortunately continues to cast a shadow over families and communities across the North. In every town and city throughout the region there are people and families who have been touched by the deep grief that the loss of a loved one to suicide brings. It is incumbent on every single one of us to take action, in whatever small way possible, to help our friends and family deal with the pressures they face and offer a shoulder they can lean on in difficult times.
“As we recognise World Suicide Prevention Day it is only fitting that we all pay tribute to the immense amount of work being done by voluntary and charitable groups across a range of disciplines to deal with this issue. From tackling the stigma still associated with poor mental health to direct acute intervention, we are hugely indebted to these groups.
“Given the importance of this day, I would also encourage everyone to take some extra time to talk to their loved ones today. Ask them how their day was, find out if they have any problems that have been bothering them. We all have a role to play in helping support each other through difficult times. Creating a culture of openness and sharing can make a real difference to those who are struggling.
“And if you know someone that’s having a difficult time, please share the contact details of organisations like Lifeline or Samaritans that can provide specialists one-on-one support.”