The Workers’ Party welcome the suicide prevention infrastructure due to begin this summer, piloting at Divis and Clifton Street bridges but we still require serious investment into our mental health services according to Gemma Weir, Workers’ Party North Belfast.

“While these preventive measures are very welcome there is a lot more to be done to tackle the root problem. Last year the statistics were shocking, showing a 30% increase over four years.”

“Official figures released for 2020 showed a total of 168 people took their own lives. Early figures for 2021 show 71 suicides between January and March alone. These are incredibly concerning numbers.”

“Research shows us, and it is unsurprising, that suicide rates are three times higer in deprived areas. Currently North Belfast has the worst provision of services in the whole of the North and the highest mental health and suicide rates.”

“We require not only serious investment into mental health services but we require a strategy that is not only fit for purpose but that will be fully implemented. We need to ensure training is available to our teachers, community workers and employers to support anyone with mental health issues and we need to prioritise public health messaging around awareness and reduce stigma.”

“As the spiralling cost of living pushes more and more workers into poverty this issue is only going to increase. We must act now before we are in crisis.”