More likely to commit suicide in deprived areas
PEOPLE living in deprived areas, such as some of the estates in Limavady, are around three times more likely to take their own lives, the Health Minister has said.
One area of Limavady, which has been targeted extensively under Neighbourhood Renewal schemes, is the sixth most deprived in the country, according to Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency figures.
The area itself includes the Hospital Lane estate, the Glens estate, Roe Mill Road, Kennaght Terrance, Josephine Avenue and Greystone Road. There are two community groups within the Neighbourhood Renewal Area; the Glens Community Association at Glenlea Park and Roe Valley Residents Association at Keady Way.
Speaking on World Suicide Prevention Day last week (Friday, September 7) Health Minister Edwin Poots said the range of factors which contribute to suicide rates, particularly among those in deprived areas, mean the entire Executive plays a role in reducing suicide rates.
He said: “People who live in deprived areas are two to three times more likely to take their own lives. A range of factors which increase the rates of suicide, especially in this at risk group, include alcohol and drugs misuse, educational underachievement, being part of the justice system and mental health illness. Many of these issues cut across a number of areas of government.
“Unemployment rates in deprived areas further affect people and this is a major concern. Studies indicate that a one per cent increase in unemployment is met with a corresponding 0.79 per cent increase in suicide.
“It is therefore important to consider how the adverse psychological impact of redundancy and unemployment might be mitigated.”
The Minister continued: “Suicide one of the biggest challenges facing the Executive. In 2010 and 2011, over 600 people took their own lives – this is a startlingly high figure.
“The Executive is facing up the challenge of reducing suicide rates. In June 2012, I launched the Refreshed Protect Life Strategy which requires a greater commitment from a number of government departments to reduce suicide rates and will mean much closer working arrangements to achieve the actions set out in the strategy.
“I also met with the Ministerial Co-ordination Group on Suicide in June to discuss the refreshed Protect Life Strategy, the Terms of Reference and the actions that now need to be taken across government to reduce suicide rates in Northern Ireland.”
The Minister spoke about suicide prevention during an Assembly Motion today in Stormont. He also attended a number of events, aimed at raising awareness of the issue, including a Youth Talks event held in the Long Gallery at Stormont.
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