Speaking on World Suicide Prevention Day, the Foyle MP said:
“Globally each year 800,000 people die by suicide, that’s one person every 40 seconds.
“In 2015 we had 769 suicides in Ireland and in 2016 we had 696. Each one a person, a family and a community devastated.
“Suicide is everyone’s business. Anxiety, depression and suicide, can affect anyone and feelings of stigma and isolation often stop people reaching out for the treatment they need.
“The sad reality of our society is that many people, young and old find themselves living under great pressures which can have a negative impact on their mental health.
“There is great work being undertaken in some extremely difficult circumstances in the community and voluntary sectors and with what is being developed by statutory and government departments. This creative and innovative work needs to continue and be scaled up.
“Sinn Féin have met the Department of Health on a number of occasions seeking updates and assurances on the work to develop the Protect Life 2, suicide prevention strategy. Such a strategy will undoubtedly help save lives. Lives that could be lost to suicide, which is preventable.
“Today we must make a commitment to take every step to eradicate suicide, we must encourage people to talk about their mental health and break down the stigma which stops people asking for help.
“By getting people to talk about mental health, we can break down the stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects us all.
“I would urge anyone feeling suicidal to seek help and they can use the Lifeline helpline on 0808 808 8000. It is free, confidential and staffed by trained counsellors.” ENDS/CRÍOCH