Peace Bridge CCTV to ‘mitigate suicides’

THE Department of Social Development (DSD) is funding security coverage of the Londonderry Peace Bridge to mitigate against the potential incidences of suicide.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said it was just one example of his DSD’s attempts to address the complex issues surrounding suicide.

Last week the Sentinel reported how the suicide rate in the city was 38 per cent higher than in the Western area generally.

Data from the city prompted experts to declare a ‘crisis’ in young male suicide and demand additional professional provision for those contemplating taking their own lives.

A new report by the Men’s Health Forum Ireland (MHFI) says that amongst men aged 15-34 suicide is the principal cause of death in Ireland.

Now Mr McCausland: “On a practical level, my Department contributes to the security coverage on the Peace Bridge in Londonderry which can help mitigate against the potential incidences of suicide.”

He was asked by UUP MLA Michael Copeland what his Department had invested in preventing suicides in each of the past three years.

Mr McCausland replied: “While my Department does not fund projects which deal solely with suicide prevention, it does support through its Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund a variety of projects and programmes that address a range of mental health and well-being matters.

“These projects and programmes cut across a range of social and economic determinants and provide services that address the complex issues surrounding suicide. It is therefore difficult to place a monetary value specifically on preventing suicides,” he stated.

Figures obtained by the Sentinel last year revealed emergency paramedics were rushed to 1,018 cases of people trying to kill themselves, overdosing on drink or drugs or engaging in such abnormal psychiatric behaviour that 999 had to be called in Londonderry in 2011.

Ambulances attended an unbelievable 1,018 call-outs in 2011 in the city where the chief complaint was either ‘overdose/poisoning (ingestion)’ or ‘psychiatric/abnormal behaviour/suicide attempts.’

One in seven deaths of people under 45 in Londonderry in 2011 were registered as suicides.

Fourteen per cent of the registered deaths of young people in the first three quarters of 2011 were due to suicide.