By VIEW editor Brian Pelan
The link between suicide and social deprivation in Northern Ireland was highlighted last night in a wide-ranging talk given by University of Glasgow professor Rory O’Connor at St Louise’s Comprehensive College in west Belfast.
The event was organised by the British Psychological Society.
Prof O’Connor pointed out to a packed audience in the college’s assembly hall that a high proportion of those who died by suicide in Northern Ireland lived in deprived areas.
Northern Ireland has the highest suicide rate in the UK.
Prof O’Connor said: “We need to challenge the social inequalities in Northern Ireland.
“But we must also try to offer support to those people who have suicidal thoughts or who have mental health problems. We need to have a suicide prevention strategy implemented in Northern Ireland.”
Prof O’Connor also talked about how media discussions of suicides can influence suicidal behaviour. He said it was important that media organisations adhere to Samaritans’ media guidelines on reporting of suicide.
Siobhan O’Neill, Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University, also attended the event.
• The International Association for Suicide Prevention World Congress will take place in Derry next year from September 17 to September 21.
• MEDIA GUIDELINES FOR THE REPORTING OF SUICIDE – https://www.samaritans.org/media-centre/media-guidelines-reporting-suicide