Almost every day in Northern Ireland a person takes their own life.

At Developing Healthy Communities, we believe that a holistic, multi-faceted approach improves this major public health issue and is an important means of supporting communities to reduce self harm. As such, a number of our programmes focus on training, family support, building community resilience and lobbying government and statutory organisations to take action to improve mental health.

Current situation  

The exact reasons why a person takes their own life are often individual and complex. They can be caused by one event or a build up of events over a period of time. These may be personal, social or economic or a mixture.

Evidence has identified a number of risk factors which can exacerbate or have an impact on someone's mental health. These include:

  • Drug / alcohol misuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Trauma or abuse
  • Unemployment
  • Social isolation
  • Poverty
  • Poor social conditions or homelessness
  • Imprisonment
  • Violence
  • Family breakdown
  • A previous suicide attempt
  • Chronic disease or disability

Tackling the risk factors

We have been influencing the NI Mental Health Action Plan and through our programmes, we have been focused on:

  • Providing training to build resilience and spot the signs of mental health issues
  • Allocate grant funding to groups focusing on improving mental health
  • Developed Quality Standards of best practice for organisations providing mental and emotional wellbeing support and suicide prevention