21 Jun 2005

THE Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Nigel Williams, today welcomed the announcement of Government action on suicide and self-harm.

Mr Williams hosted a major conference in February and last month called for an action plan to tackle the tragic toll that suicide is taking on young lives across Northern Ireland.

Yesterday Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Shaun Woodward MP, announced the ongoing work of a Task Force on suicide as well as proposals to meet Tánaiste, Mary Harney TD to examine the issues.

Mr Woodward also announced that he hoped to bring together a conference of professionals and specialist groups to examine suicide and self-harm.

“Today children and young people are waiting for services in the community, and are being treated in adult wards, and in some cases having to leave Northern Ireland to receive care. This needs to change.”

“There can be no avoiding the fact that there needs to be urgent action taken alongside the longer term reviews of child and adolescent mental health services,” said Mr Williams. “We need to make a significant investment in child and adolescent mental health services to address these issues.”

“I hope for the sake of the families so tragically affected, and for children and young people who are now in need of help, that Minister Woodward’s proposals will produce tangible action.” Mr Williams published the outcome of his own work on suicide and self-harm, click here.

Notes for Editors:

Further information on the work of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People can be found at www.niccy.org.