Belfast Telegraph

Families of suicide victims take to Belfast streets in call for better mental health support

By Staff Reporter

Scores of people brought Belfast city centre to a standstill on Saturday for a poignant demonstration to raise awareness of suicide and call on more help for those affected by mental health.

March For Life was organised by campaigner Philip McTaggart, who lost his son Philip to suicide in 2003.

The heartbroken family of 31-year-old Stephen Ferrin from north Belfast, who took his own life in September, were in attendance.

His brothers Kieran (24) and Niall (19) took their own lives in 2014 and 2011, respectively, and their cousin Christopher, also 19, took his own life in 2010. He had also lost seven of his friends to suicide, including Philip jnr.

Their sister, Seaneen, called on politicians to "help your people and bring about change".

"We don't want any more shining lights to go out - we want to protect them," added Philip McTaggart. "For some of us who have lost loved ones, we know what that pain feels like, but I can't imagine to lose two loved ones, let alone three. Patricia Ferrin (Stephen, Niall and Kieran's mother) doesn't want another light to go out. She doesn't want anyone else to die by suicide."

The march began at Queen's Square in Belfast before going along Royal Avenue to City Hall. Many people carried pictures of the loved ones they had lost to suicide and released balloons in their memory.

Mr McTaggart said: "We want to make sure we have a dedicated facility to help someone in need."

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