A notice of motion, which will be tabled at a meeting of Council in Craigavon this evening, has highlighted the need for urgent suicide reform.
Figures reveal a staggering 272 people have taken their own lives in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough over the last 10 years.
The motion, brought forward by the Ulster Unionist Party, has called on the Council to write to Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, to emphasise that the current situation is “unacceptable”.
The full motion reads: “This council notes that Northern Ireland has the highest suicide rate in the UK and that over the last 10 years there have tragically been 272 lives lost and families devastated in the ABC Council Area in that time and, as a result, Council: reminds anyone who may be in distress or despair to support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; urges anyone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts immediately contact the GP or any one of our local mental health charities; and notes that funding on mental health services across Northern Ireland remains wholly inadequate and expresses a breach of the ongoing political impasse at Stormont has meant that Protect Life 2 – the new strategy election plan to reduce suicide rate – has still not been published due to the absence of a local minister.”
It adds that “Council agrees to write to Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to emphasise that the current situation is unacceptable the Secretary of State to intervene to secure immediate publication of the strategy.”
Councillors across all parties will vote on the motion tonight (Monday).
The consultation to the draft strategy was launched in 2016 by the then health minister Michelle O’Neill.