As World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) approaches, the Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging anyone in distress or concerned about someone else to phone the Lifeline service on 0808 808 8000 for help and support. The service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Lifeline is funded by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, through the PHA, as part of Protect Life – a shared vision, the suicide prevention strategy for Northern Ireland.
Explaining the importance of the service, Dr Eddie Rooney, PHA Chief Executive, said: “The PHA is concerned about any loss of life through suicide and we send our condolences to all families who have been bereaved. We also continue to work in partnership with local communities to tackle this complex and serious issue.
“The Lifeline crisis response helpline is part of this work. No matter what your age or where you live in Northern Ireland, call Lifeline if you, or someone you know, is in distress or despair. It is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow-up with other support if necessary.
“Lifeline also provides support and guidance to families and carers, concerned friends, professionals, teachers, youth workers, clergy and communities. It is a crucial part of our work to reduce suicidal behaviour and the tragedy that this brings to our community, so I would urge anyone who needs support to call 0808 808 8000, anytime.”
People living in Northern Ireland can call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. Deaf and hard of hearing Textphone users can call Lifeline on 18001 0808 808 8000.
Health Minister Edwin Poots stated "Suicide rates in Northern Ireland have been on an upward trend since 2005, with a total of 313 deaths by suicide recorded in 2010 - the highest ever figure. This is a truly worrying statistic and of course, behind that statistic is the total devastation felt by the family and friends of those who have lost their lives to suicide. Suicide prevention is at the very top of my priorities - it is a startling reminder to think that more people in Northern Ireland are dying from suicide than on our roads".
He added, "Anyone using Lifeline should remember that the people who answer their calls are trained counsellors. They are available 24/7 to listen and provide help and support in the strictest confidence. Not only do they deal with issues such as suicide, they are trained to provide advice on self-harm, abuse, trauma, anxiety and depression".
Further helpful advice regarding suicide prevention is also available on the nidirect website www.nidirect.gov.uk/talk
Contact PHA the Press Office on 028 9031 1611.
Picture Caption: Dr. Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, Public Health Agency, pictured at Lifeline, urges those in despair or distress to phone Lifeline: 0808 808 8000
Notes to the editor
- Protect life: a shared vision. The Northern Ireland suicide prevention strategy and action plan was launched in October 2006 (www.dhsspsni.gov.uk).
- Lifeline counsellors are professionally qualified with a Diploma in Counselling and hold British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) membership. They also receive specialist trauma training, clinical supervision and support to ensure they can help all callers effectively.
- Please abide by The Samaritans/Irish Association of Suicidology Media Guidelines for the Portrayal of Suicide, available at: www.samaritans.org/pdf/IrishMediaGuidelines2009.pdf