Mental health expert Jimmy Smith, who has over 40 years experience in the mental health field, said: “The report is only repeating what everyone already knows. To talk about alcohol, drug abuse, relationship problems, financial problems and mental health problems as having a bearing on suicide – I mean, surprise surprise.
“It is too wide, too general and too vague. Funding will never be made available to deal with such a wide area.”
The study examined events prior to death over a six year period, revealing risk factors were such as prior suicidal behaviour, substance abuse, employment status and difficult life events prior to death.
A staggering 61% of cases involved emotionally difficult life experiences such as a relationship breakdown or events relating to the grief or illness.
Speaking about these results, Ulster University professor Siobhan O’Neill drew an unpopular conclusion.
She said: “These results go a long way to help understand prior suicidal indicators and help the identification of measures that could be taken to prevent such deaths.”
“It is really important that services for people who have adverse life events and suicidal thoughts are retained and promoted.”
Jimmy Smyth responded: “Where are these services? Do they already exist to any extent? If they do exist; there is little, if any promotion and few people would know anything about them.”
As well as disputing the value of the study, the Health & Wellbeing Co are certain that strategies, rather than services, are the most effective measure to preventing suicide.
Mary-Jane Burns, a therapist at the Health & Wellbeing Co stated: “At the Health & Wellbeing Co we find that the combination of counselling and complimentary therapy is a powerful solution as our minds and body are not separate and treating both at the same time brings about the fastest results. In this way we can teach self-help techniques and rebuild emotional resilience.”
Jimmy Smyth supported this notion, adding: “What we need is a proper educational programme and strategies that individuals at risk can use to keep themselves safe.”
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