‘Our Future Foyle’ key to tackling suicide

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The ‘Our Future Foyle’ riverine project can play a key role tackling the tragic phenomenon of people taking their own lives in the River Foyle.

That’s according to SDLP MLA Mark H. Durkan and Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion who have both pledged support for the the Public Health Agency-led initiative aimed at improving the public space along the Foyle and moving away from some of the negative connotations associated with the river.

Mr. Durkan, writing to the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health (DoH), Richard Pengelly, about suicide rates in Derry, stated: “You will be aware of the ‘Our Future Foyle’ project being led by the PHA and I would like to place on record the SDLP’s support for this initiative and transformative piece of work.”

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion also hailed the project, in particular an art installation proposed for the Foyle Bridge.

“This initiative involves the proposed installation, ‘Foyle Reeds’, which would not only provide a new iconic public art installation along the riverfront and across the Foyle Bridge, but would also form a safety barrier and help reduce tragedies along the riverbank.”

Mr. Durkan went on to call for a dedicated suicide prevention taskforce for the Derry area.

In his letter to Mr. Pengelly, he wrote: “I would be grateful if you would consider the establishment of a suicide prevention taskforce here in Foyle, comprising of senior departmental representation, Western Health and social Care Trust (WHSCT), PHA and local stakeholders, including the community and voluntary sector who provide so much valuable and vital support in this area.”

The Lifeline helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Anyone of any age living in the North can call the Lifeline helpline for free on 0808 808 8000 if they are experiencing distress or despair. At Lifeline you can talk to a professionally trained counsellor who will listen, give help and support, in confidence.