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Newspapers work together in bid to halt suicides rise

The Belfast Telegraph, The News Letter and The Irish News have joined up to launch a campaign to tackle the increase in suicide in Northern Ireland.

The three newspapers, together with the Daily Mirror, have set up the Newspapers Against Suicide campaign, to raise awareness on the issue and urge the Government to continue its work to halt increasing suicide rates, particularly among young people.

Reporting the launch of the campaign, the Telegraph said there were 143 suicides registered in Northern Ireland in 1996, and in ten years this had more than doubled to 291 in 2006.

Belfast Telegraph editor Martin Lindsay said: “For too long, suicide has been a taboo subject for many people. Now is the time to open up a province-wide debate on this issue.”

In a joint statement, the four newspapers called for more resources to deal with the crisis, and said more young people died from suicide each year than in road accidents.

They said: “Every day in Northern Ireland at least one person takes their own life. And every day another four people will attempt to kill themselves, leaving their families living in constant fear for what the future might hold.

“Together we must bring an end to the silent hopelessness that haunts thousands of people in our cities, towns, villages and remote rural homes.

“We have to face the fact that not every suicide can be prevented.

“But if our politicians provide the tools needed to deal with the problems and the consequences of years of under-funding, many lives could be saved.”

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