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Kelly says suicide awareness training must be available to all

Alliance Councillor Michelle Kelly has said suicide awareness training must be an available resource for citizens, staff and elected representatives alike, as she called on Belfast City Council to be a civic leader in the area.

The East Belfast Councillor will bring a motion to this Wednesday’s Council meeting aiming at putting the relevant training to help everyone recognise the signs of those who need help.  The move follows in the footsteps of her predecessor David Armitage, who ensured the Council works towards becoming a zero suicide city.

“Mental health is never something anyone should take for granted, but we can all do things to improve our own situation and recognise the signs of those around us who are in need,” said Councillor Kelly.

“Sadly what was already a troubling situation for many will have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which will also have had a serious effect on many who never saw their own personal struggle coming. That’s why it is essential we move forward in providing the right tools and resources to give everyone the best chance in fighting what for many will become the biggest fight of their life.

“As civic leaders, we have a responsibility to help and support our citizens, which is why it is so important we take measures to implement different practices within our own employment setting at City Hall. From providing mental health first aid training programmes for staff, to appointing mental health champions in each department, there is so much we can do to raise the profile of this issue and make sure everyone has a safe space to seek help.

“I hope everyone will be able to get behind this plan, helping those in need currently and securing the future of those who don’t yet realise the help they will need.”