Northern Ireland’s Mental Health Champion has joined Action Mental Health and leading advocates in the field of suicide prevention to mark today’s World Suicide Prevention Day, delivering a message of hope and remembering those lost to suicide.
World Suicide Prevention Day follows an unprecedented phase in modern society when lockdown halted life as we know it and brought challenges to many people right across the world, including here in Northern Ireland.
AMH has produced a short video carrying the message of this year’s theme and also highlighting the range of support that is available to people locally.
Leading the field of mental health and suicide prevention practitioners and campaigners to feature in the video is Professor Siobhan O’Neill, who was this year appointed as Northern Ireland’s first ever interim Mental Health Champion – an appointment which was warmly welcomed by Action Mental Health, after many years of campaigning for the post.
In the short film, she is joined by Órlaithí Flynn, Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s All-Party Group on Suicide Prevention and Sinn Fein’s mental health spokesperson, while Lisa Archibald, Project Co-ordinator with the Families Voices Forum, also adds her voice.
Action Mental Health’s own Colin Loughran and Sarah Grant Jones, make up the team carrying the important message of working together to prevent suicide.
In the year since World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 marked the launch of the Protect Life 2 Strategy for reducing suicides and the incidence of self-harm, Northern Ireland has also welcomed other key developments.
Action Mental Health Chief Executive, David Babington commented: “AMH’s campaign for a Mental Health Champion was realised, and a Mental Health Action Plan has also been created, including a commitment to produce a mental health strategy. We now need to ensure that these commitments and strategies are fully implemented and properly resourced, to ensure we can address the very unique circumstances in Northern Ireland.
“What is required now, more than ever, is a copper-fastened pledge by the Executive to fully fund and resource these new strategies, such as Protect Life 2, to help reduce the number of suicides in Northern Ireland.
“Today, as we mark World Suicide Prevention Day, the collaboration shown by so many people and organisations reinforces the importance message – that suicide is preventable and by working together, we can help save lives.”