UUP Councillor Victor Warrington has said that it is ‘disappointing’ that over 80% of people who answered the Fermanagh Herald poll on mental health services and suicide prevention do not feel enough is being done to tackle the issue.
Speaking after being told the results of the service, Councillor Warrington added: “Is it a surprise? To a degree, maybe not.”
Asked if he felt that more needed to be done, he responded, “Absolutely. More awareness needs to be there for people to who suicide is an important topic and one that we maybe don’t address enough.”
He went on: “We all know people who have went down that road. I know several personally who have committed suicide and it’s obviously a very traumatic situation that they felt they were in and there was no other road to go down.”
Cllr Warrington said that there is still a stigma attached to mental health.
“A person can be acting very normally but obviously there is an underlying thing. It’s about getting the people in that frame of mind and let people know. People are willing to help.”
And, Councillor Martin McGovern, Sinn Fein, said that he was ‘really not surprised by these results’.
“I know that poor mental health is a huge issue here in Fermanagh and that the system is burdened with prolonged waiting lists. I am pleased that the issue is being highlighted – because one life lost through suicide is one too many.
“I would urge those suffering under the weight of depression or any other mental health issue to confide and talk to someone, be that a friend, clergyman, family member or health professional.
“Alongside regular mental health services, there is excellent help provided through Lifeline, The Samaritans, and organisations such as the Aisling Centre in Enniskillen.”
He added: “I would urge people not to despair as there is support available and nowadays we are all more aware of the complexities of mental health and it is not the taboo it was before.
I would strongly urge more government investment into mental health services in Fermanagh as it is crucial to stem the tide of suicide.”
If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline free on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if appropriate. The helpline is available 24/7. www.lifelinehelpline.info.
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