Tyrone suicide awareness charity launching new strategy to save lives

Catherine McBennett, founding member of the Niamh Louise Foundation, with a photo of her daughter, Niamh, who died by suicide 10 years ago
Catherine McBennett, founding member of the Niamh Louise Foundation, with a photo of her daughter, Niamh, who died by suicide 10 years ago

A charity which has been helping people with emotional health problems and suicidal feelings for a decade in Tyrone and Mid Ulster, is to launch its new strategy at an event next week.

The document, published by the Niamh Louise Foundation, will be delivered as part of the organisation’s plan for 2016 to 2020.

Entitled ‘Suicide Prevention is your Business’, the plan will be launched at the Palace Demesne, Armagh, on Thursday 26th May at 1.30pm, and members of the public and other interested parties are invited to attend.

The launch will be attended by many of those working in the field of suicide prevention across Northern Ireland and has been supported by Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, who said:

“Access to the right support at the right time can prevent suicide. Niamh Louise has brought this support right to the heart of communities in Tyrone and Armagh over the last decade.

“The new Suicide Prevention is Your Business Strategy will ensure Niamh Louise continues to make a vital contribution to the drive against suicide in Northern Ireland in the coming years.”

The plan has been developed to address the real issues around suicide prevention and the effects on the community when such a tragedy happens, pulling together 10 years of learning and experience from the long committed and dedicated members of the Niamh Louise Foundation.

Its aims are far reaching and include: de-stigmatisation of suicide, development of training and educational programmes, raising suicide high on the political agenda, encouraging more community volunteers, and providing a safe place for those at risk of suicide/self-harm and those bereaved by suicide to help them reach a place of recovery and wellbeing.

Cllr. Darryn Causby, Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District Council, who will host the event, adds: “For too long the issue of suicide has not been addressed openly and without fear at community level and, as Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, I believe that we can truly make a difference to the predicted rising deaths by suicide in our rural communities.

“We all know that prevention is better than cure. The medical model of suicide prevention alone does not go far enough to support the self-harm and mental health issues in today’s modern society and so we need to develop our community based grass roots services which can support the work of the health professionals.”

Anyone wishing to attend the launch can contact the Foundation to register their interest by emailing info@niamhlouisefoundation.com or using the telephone number 028 8775 3327.