Shiels Court’s support for suicide prevention initiative

Siobhan McCartney, Shiels Court, Ballymoney. INBM 36-757-CON
Siobhan McCartney, Shiels Court, Ballymoney. INBM 36-757-CON

A Ballymoney mental health service provider has issued a timely appeal for people to connect, communicate and care.

Beacon Shiels Court is supporting World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, which is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention to highlight support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost loved one and for the survivors of suicide.

Part of Niamh (The Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health), Shiels Court has been offering 24 hour supported living in the Ballymoney area for the past 19 years.

Siobhan McCartney, from Shiels Court, said: “Taking the time to connect with those around us reduces feelings of isolation, communicating and sharing pressures and worries can reduce stress and feelings of unhappiness, and caring for others, but perhaps more importantly, caring for oneself, also gives a positive and proactive focus that can help support an individual move out from a difficult personal situation.”

Statistics released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), showed that in 2014, there were 268 deaths by suicide recorded in the province. Although this represented a decrease on the previous year, the figures still show that men are over all three times more likely than women to complete suicide.

Furthermore, a recent study on suicide by Siobhan O’Neill, Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University, found that just over half of those who died by suicide were known to have a mental health disorder.

Although, Professor O’Neill’s research shows that not everyone who ends their life in this most tragic of ways has had a previous diagnosed mental health condition, those that are struggling with their mental and emotional health can often be more at ‘risk’.

There a number of confidential and free counselling services people can contact day or night, including the Samaritans on 116 123 and Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.

For more general information and support on looking after mental health and emotional wellbeing, visit the Beacon website at