Upper Bann MLA Jonathan Buckley said the introduction of the Protect Life 2 suicide prevention strategy, published by the Department of Health, is much needed.
The Upper Bann MLA said: “It is no secret that suicide and mental health issues are becoming an epidemic in Northern Ireland and this must be addressed immediately. Currently, Northern Ireland has the highest suicide rate in the UK, with 300 people losing their lives to suicide each year.
"Following Julian Smith’s appointment as Secretary of State, I wrote to him highlighting that suicide prevention and mental health must be made a priority in Northern Ireland. This was prompted by my own experiences with suicide. While I was a pupil at Craigavon Senior High School in 2007 the school was rocked by the tragic deaths of three boys in my year group.
"Since I was elected many families across Upper Bann have felt the horrific pain caused by suicide, we must do all we can to help those who suffer silently.
"I am extremely glad that the long-awaited Protect Life 2 suicide prevention strategy has been published by the Department of Health. The strategy aims to reduce Northern Ireland's suicide rate by 10% in the next five years, as well as making a financial commitment towards ensuring services are rolled out across NI."