The Department of Health (DoH) in Northern Ireland has published a new suicide prevention strategy titled ‘Protect Life 2’.
The strategy outlines the DoH's plans to reduce suicide and self-harm over the next five years and emphasises the importance of collaborative efforts in prevention. It encompasses a range of new and ongoing actions intended to reduce the suicide rate, including increased focus on individuals bereaved by suicide, stronger support for individuals who care for others and better collaboration across departments.
The primary goal of ‘Protect Life 2’ is to reduce the rates of suicide by 10 per cent by 2024, in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organization. The strategy aims to particularly provide suicide prevention services and support to deprived areas where self-harm rates are highest and suicide rates are >3.5 times higher than the rates in areas with least deprivation.
Expressing concern regarding the burden of suicide in Northern Ireland, Richard Pengelly, DoH's Permanent Secretary, said: "Suicide is preventable and not inevitable, yet almost every day in Northern Ireland a person takes their own life. Whilst suicide rates here have remained relatively stable over the last decade the level is without a doubt unacceptably high."