Belfast Telegraph

Call for ads to help suicidal men

Services for suicidal young men in Northern Ireland should be advertised more widely, a report has said.

Sports clubs, schools and employers should be used to provide help, the Public Health Agency investigation said.

Between 1999 and 2008, there was a 64% increase in the suicide rate in Northern Ireland, fuelled largely by young men.

The agency's document said: "Services, particularly those based in the community, need to be advertised more widely and in ways which reach out to young men.

"A range of media should be used to promote access and provide culturally relevant care, including media which have become a regular means of communication amongst young people."

The report, Providing meaningful care: using the experiences of young suicidal men to inform mental health care services, said services needed to reach out to young men by providing help in the community.

"Services should be premised on an acknowledgement of the need for support to be provided to young men over the long-term so that they are to be enabled to move forward with their lives in a positive manner once the initial risk of suicide has been removed," it added.

"Novel forms of suicide prevention outreach work should include those media that have become a regular means of communication among young people. This includes social networking systems, the internet, text messaging and/or email."

The research added that services must continue to address the concerns of young men about issues of stigma and confidentiality regarding the care and treatment of suicidality. Some issues around signposting and labelling of suicide prevention services should be addressed immediately.

Dr Eddie Rooney, the health agency's chief executive, said: "Everyone in Northern Ireland is aware of the devastation to individuals, families and communities that suicide brings. Promoting mental health and suicide prevention is a priority, not only for the Public Health Agency and our partner organisations, but also for every local community across Northern Ireland."

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