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5 th July 2007

PN: HSSPS 09/07


5 th July 2007 PN: HSSPS 09/07

The Assembly Health Committee today met representatives of families bereaved by suicide from across Northern Ireland and heard their concerns about the services provided and the support available. The group related their own experiences of providing support for individuals contemplating suicide and the positive impact this has had on saving lives. The group highlighted the significance of depression in contributing to suicide and called for greater depression awareness training for GPs. They said that only 161 GPs from the four Health Board areas have availed of the training.

Chairperson of the Committee, Iris Robinson MP, said: “The Committee fully supports the current strategy that aims to reduce the incidence of suicide but we all recognise the need to provide greater support for bereaved families. ”

She said: “We urge the Minister to follow up the call by the group for a room to be set aside in Accident and Emergency Departments for those presenting with suicidal tendancies”.

Dr Paul Miller, a Consultant Psychiatrist briefed the Committee on research he had carried out and highlighted the importance of targeting those who have suffered various forms of trauma such as sexual abuse. He said that services should cater for people of all ages and he argued that churches had a role to play in preventing suicide as well as providing support to bereaved families.

Note to Editor:

Committee Membership:

Mrs Iris Robinson MP (DUP) (Chairperson); Ms Michelle O’Neill (SF) (Deputy Chairperson); Mr Thomas Buchanan (DUP); Rev Dr Robert Coulter (UUP); Dr Kieran Deeny (IHC); Mr Alex Easton (DUP); Mr Tommy Gallagher (SDLP); Mrs Carmel Hanna (SDLP); Mr John McCallister (UUP); Ms Carál Ní Chuilín (SF); Ms Sue Ramsey (SF)

The Clerk to the Committee is Mr Hugh Farren,
Room 412, Parliament Buildings,
Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 028 90521360
Fax No: 028 90521667

Northern Ireland Assembly Information Office,
Room B2, Parliament Buildings,
Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 02890-521137/521396.
Fax: 02890 521961.
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