Council Chairman raises awareness of Mental Health to mark World Suicide Prevention Day

10th September 2020

Cllr Smyth   Official

The 18th World Suicide Prevention Day takes place this Thursday, 10 September 2020 and the Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Chris Smyth, is demonstrating his support for this international day of awareness by encouraging residents of the district to look after their mental health.

Councillor Smyth will have an interview with the Interim Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, Professor Siobhán  O’Neill, which will be available to view on the Council’s youtube channel and on social media on Thursday.

Speaking about World Suicide Prevention Day, Councillor Smyth said, “Mental health is a subject which I feel very strongly about. In 2018, more than 300 people lost their lives to suicide in Northern Ireland which is a sobering statistic. However, everyone of those lost lives is a parent, spouse, sibling, friend or work colleague and when you factor in the impact of those lost lives on the wider community, the number of people directly affected by suicide is significantly greater. Suicide is no respecter of age, gender, race, religion or creed. It impacts on every demographic.

Over the last few years the focus on mental health has changed and there is a greater awareness of the dangers of poor mental health. The impact of Covid-19 has undoubtedly had a negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of residents across the entire age spectrum and the pandemic has exacerbated an already difficult situation. We all have a role to play, should it be as simple as providing a listening ear or encouraging a friend or loved one to seek help. I would urge you all to be that listening ear or indeed to seek out help at the earliest opportunity.”

Commenting ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, Professor O’Neill said, “across the world, one person loses their life to suicide every 40 seconds. On World Suicide prevention Day, people will come together and spread awareness of how suicide can be prevented. I will drive forward the actions within the “Protect Life 2” Suicide Prevention Strategy and ensure that suicide prevention is considered in all key policies.”

World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day which was first observed on 10 September 2003 and is a collaboration between the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) to host World Suicide Prevention Day.