After the death of a young man from suicide in Fermanagh two weeks ago, further calls have been made for those in difficulty to seek help before it is too late.
Following on from the death of a 39-year-old man in Derrygonnelly, Fermanagh South Tyrone UUP MLA Tom Elliott believes the issue of mental health is one of grave concern that must be addressed.
He noted that the highest risk group for suicide is young men aged between 25 to 54 who live in deprived areas and who are suffering due to current economic pressures.
He said he had uncovered a disturbing fact that 3,228 suicides were registered in Northern Ireland from 1998- 2012, a figure which compares to the 3,600 people who were killed as a result of Troubles.
“I am only too aware of recent deaths through suicide in my own constituency”, he said, “and when someone dies by suicide, many people are affected – parents, partners, relatives, friends and even the wider community all feel the pain.
“It is more important than ever to work across all sectors to reduce the high incidence of suicide in our local communities.”
He noted ‘a huge increase’ in people contacting Northern Ireland’s main helpline, with 17,500 calls in a three month period this year.
Mr Elliott urged people to seek help from organisations such as Lifeline Helpline (0808 808 8000) or the Samaritans (08457 90 90 90).
Fermanagh UUP councillor, Victor Warrington told the Herald he suffered depression in 2003.
He recalled: “When it first kicked in initially I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was feeling down yes, but it was continually getting worse.
“I felt I had all these aches and things wrong with me and was going to the doctor. He was doing test on top of test finding nothing wrong. Eventually, my GP hit the nail on the head and told me I was suffering from depression. My mum died that year and I think that was a factor that kicked it off.”
Mr Warrington speaks openly about his illness, and he believes that is key in battling mental health problems.
“I never tried to hide the fact’, he said, “and I dealt with it when the doctor said what the problem was. That might be the problem here. It is still a taboo issue.”
He added: “Depression is not something that has appeared in the last few years. It has been around a long time. I used to hear things like, ‘give them a good kick up the backside and get them back out there’, but it is not that simple.”
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