Grassroots initiative taken as number of deaths from suicide in Northern Ireland in 20 years since peace agreement exceeds those from the 30 year Troubles
Twelve permanent Unite in the community ‘suicide awareness’ signs to go up on all pathways into Cave Hill
October 15th: Albert Hewitt, Regional Community Coordinator explained that Unite in the community members would be erecting the signs in Cave Hill park with the aim of discouraging people from taking their lives at the site.
“Sadly today, Northern Ireland is suffering from a suicide epidemic. As a society coming out of conflict, there are a lot of factors at play in that and we recognise that suicide affects all types of people, rich and poor, but those coming from the deprived working-class communities on either side of the peace walls are most likely to end their own lives.
“This initiative has been taken by members of our union who live in those deprived communities. Even when there was a functioning Executive, nowhere near enough was done about the rising number of suicides. The brutal reality is that in the twenty years since the signing of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, more lives have been lost through suicide than were lost in the entire conflict in the thirty years that preceded it.
“Unite the union is proud to back our community members in this initiative. Twelve permanent, metal signs will be erected on approach roads and pathways into Cave Hill country park. They provide contact details for Childline, Extern, Lifeline, Lighthouse and the Samaritans, encourage people contemplating suicide to ‘talk about it’ and remind them that ‘suicide doesn’t end the pain, it just passes it on to someone else’.
“With the concentration of suicides in North Belfast, Cave Hill is fast becoming a focus. If by these signs we can manage to discourage one person from taking their own life that will make the initiative worthwhile”, Mr Hewitt said.