Funding for suicide prevention programmes in Northern Ireland will be ring-fenced, the Health Minister has pledged.
Noting the link between deprivation and people taking their own lives, Edwin Poots said the issue presented a complex challenge for all society.
After visiting a project in west Belfast, one of the areas particularly blighted by the problem, Mr Poots said that frontline services aimed at tackling suicide would not be affected by any future cutbacks in his department.
"I believe frontline preventative services that respond promptly and effectively when people are suicidal remain essential and I have therefore given a commitment to protect suicide prevention funding," he said.
The minister was visiting the Suicide Awareness and Support Group (SA&SG).
"Suicide presents a complex and deeply concerning challenge for all sectors of our society.
"The West Belfast Constituency which includes Twinbrook and Poleglass has a population of over 87,000 living in some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged wards in Northern Ireland.
"It experiences disproportionately higher rates of suicide, with some 26.1 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2007/09 compared to the Northern Ireland average of 14.7 deaths."