Suicide to Zero calling for council backing

Suicide to Zero calling for council backing

2 January 2019

THE Downpatrick charity, Suicide Down to Zero, has called on Newry, Mourne and Down Council to take the lead on suicide prevention in the absence of the Northern Ireland Executive.

Charity co-founder Pat McGreevy says that the council should adopt a “down to zero approach to suicides across the council area”.

He said: “The recent suicide death figures for Northern Ireland revealed that Newry, Mourne and Down was second only to Belfast for suicide deaths with 28 being recorded our council area.

“Almost every day in Northern Ireland someone dies by suicide, but every day many more lives are saved.”

Mr McGreevy said it was time to dispel some myths about suicide which could bring the number of deaths down.

“One of the main barriers to suicide prevention are false beliefs that have grown up around the topic,” he said. 

“It is often mistakenly thought that by talking openly about suicide with a distressed person, it would somehow put the idea of suicide in their head.

“Another myth is one that falsely assumes that everyone who thinks about suicide, or goes on to end their life, has or had a mental illness.”

He added: “As a society we need to talk more openly about suicide and be more prepared to ask clearly and directly when we are worried that someone might be thinking about suicide.”

At a meeting on Monday night council chairman Mark Murnin agreed that it was important to reduce the number of suicides across the district to zero.

Independent councillor Jarlath Tinnelly said it was his understanding that the number of people across the district who took their own lives over the Christmas period was into double figures.

He described what happened as an “absolutely shocking outcome” for the people concerned and their families.

• For more information on Suicide Down to Zero, visit