29 Mar 2006

THE office of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) has urged the Government to act quickly once consultation on its suicide and self-harm strategy is completed.

Acting Commissioner at NICCY, Barney McNeany said it was important that the positive initiatives within Protect Life were put in place as quickly as possible.

“The action contained within the Protect Life document is very welcome,” he said. “We at NICCY have been campaigning long and hard to make sure the voice of children and young people are heard in the debate on how best to prevent suicide and self-harm scarring so many families in Northern Ireland.

”We now urge Government to make it happen; to make sure that action promised is action taken, and to support and campaign on behalf of children and young people suffering from mental health issues.

“We are also delighted that the Minister is making accountability such a key strand of this plan – any strategy needs to be resourced properly.”

Mr McNeany said it was essential the Protect Life captured the existing work at board level, at trust level and within the voluntary and community sector and built on it.

He added that NICCY hoped Protect Life would complement existing work on child and adolescent mental health services, such as the Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability.

NICCY contributed to the Suicide Taskforce as well as delivering 120 messages from young people to Minister for Health Shaun Woodward, through its online Message to the Minister campaign.