Start360 welcomes Health Minister's statement on suicide prevention

Start360 has welcomed the recent statement made by the new Health Minister, Michelle O'Neill, regarding suicide prevention in Belfast.

Start360 delivers the Protect Life service in the Belfast and Southern Health and Social Care Trust areas and has been at the forefront of lobbying for a cross-departmental working group and a fit for purpose infrastructure.

Speaking in North Belfast on 30 June, Minister O’Neill said,

‘I made it clear when I became Health Minister that I wanted to see a world class health system that tackles health inequalities and prioritises mental health.

‘There have been 22 deaths due to suicide already this year in Belfast, with North Belfast particularly affected. I have been listening to the views of those working on the ground and I am aware of the pressures they face to protect those who are in emotional crisis.

‘My Department and the Public Health Agency are working with community sector representatives to comprehensively review the suicide response in Belfast and to develop an improved response for those who are in crisis. This includes engaging with other agencies in the justice, education, youth and mental health sectors, together with political representatives and other government departments, to ensure that effective structures and services are in place to identify those who are at risk of suicide and to provide effective intervention services for these people and their families. The outcome of this exercise will determine the Protect Life Implementation Plan for the Belfast area from 2017 onwards.’

Start360 looks forward to working with Minister O’Neill to deliver change for those impacted.