Friday 31st August 2018
As most of you will know I am my party’s spokesman on Mental Health and it is a subject incredibly close to my heart. In ten days time it will be World Suicide Prevention Day, something which should be at the forefront of everybody’s minds here in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has the worst rates of suicide in the UK, in fact more people have taken their own lives here in the past 20 years than lives lost during the Troubles – a shocking and deeply painful statistic.
I have been working closely with a group of three charities, SAMHI, TAMHI and STARS who are each mental health charities birthed out of the football community who could see the direct effects of poor mental health among the young men playing.
These three charities are holding a Suicide Awareness event up at Stormont on Sunday 9th September at 10am, called Hope Sunday. At the event there will be be 305 football tops laid out at the steps of Stormont spelling the word HOPE, representing the 305 recorded suicides in Northern Ireland in 2017. The event is open to all and for anyone who is interested in attending, clicking the images above will link to each of their pages.
Vehicle entrance will be via Massey Avenue (car parking available at Stormont), meeting at 9.45am for 10am start Event ends at 10.45am. Stormont Castle will be open from 10am for free tours. Also available nature trail walks, further details available here.
Thankfully there are a great many support services available for anyone who is either suffering from poor mental health or suicidal thoughts, or for those affected through family. If you or anyone you know if struggling you can always contact them for support.
Lifeline: 0808 808 8000
Samaritans: 116 123
PIPS: 0800 088 6042